Monthly Archives: August 2014

Melissa Bender Fitness: BenderFitness DietBet Weight Loss Challenge

Posing in Point State Park in 2005
My best friend Melissa Bender before her wedding to to Jesse Bender in 2010

I am accepting this challenge for the month of September. I need to mix things up and a possible transition may come my way. It may not but I need to stay on my toes one way or another. If you are needing an extra diet incentive I suggest you join in on the weight loss bet.

My best friend is one of the most amazing humans I have ever encountered, and she truly is remarkable at everything she does. Do the challenge, you will come out on the other side completely inspired.

Love and Light to all


Melissa Bender Fitness: BenderFitness DietBet Weight Loss Challenge: Hi Everyone! I am hosting another workout challenge for the month of September!  This one is a little bit different, but I t…


Good Morning and happy weekend to all. I had my weigh in today, and I am now officially 165 lbs. I have lost 2 more lbs and that brings me to my lowest weight to date. I am down 45 lbs. I am so happy, even through recent female water weight, a trip to Las Vegas and some fun down in Orange County with James and Patrick, I still did it. I am far from done though, many fitness milestones to accomplish, a fitness bucket list to go through, and more weight to lose and charities to sponsor. I am still collecting books for Reading To Kids.

Off today. I have had a major challenge, our refrigerator is broken so it has been take out every night. Today they are coming to hopefully fix it. I look forward to cooking again soon.  I like to make Vegetarian Soups For The Soul.

Hoping the repair man will only be here for a bit, I want to go to the pool. Love and light to all.

Love and Light


One with the angels, in the city of angels. Transcendence found through Yoga on a rooftop heli-pad with two lovely ladies.
I felt bad this photo was taken so quickly, my fingers are blocking her beautiful smile.
It reminded me of her third eye.

In yoga and meditation they often speak of the third eye. This photo was taken quickly with these two lovely ladies from Europe and unfortunately my hand is blocking her beautiful smile. It is interesting though, like my fingers are where her third eye is.“The third eye meditation is a simple technique to focus the mind, increase concentration and improve mental clarity.’

Every once in a blue moon you have a moment that makes you feel like you have become one with the clouds above. That feeling of being completely and utterly alive, but at the same time out of your body and at peace with your muddled mind. Yesterday I had one of those experiences practicing yoga on top of the Intercontinental Hotel’s rooftop heli-pad. It was something I have wanted to do since I read about it over one year ago when I began this project and blog. The class is only through Labor Day, and last year I was disappointed because I was too late. I finally remembered about it and took the chance to cross it off my fitness bucket list. 

Thank you Noah Christensen.

Noah and me, I am so grateful

The teacher Noah Christensen was amazing, he truly captures what yoga should represent, mind, body, and soul. He reminded everyone that yoga is a practice and not a performance. He also told everyone to set their intention on something positive, and everyone in the room shared their energies for one another’s intentions. We are our thoughts, and we can invent our lives through how he think and feel.  His gentle yet thorough vinyasa class marinated with his soothing voice and the spectacular view of all of Los Angeles. In one corner you could see Hollywood and the Griffith Observatory and The Hollywood Sign, and in another your sight catches all of Downtown LA. In a back bend, you look up and see pristine clouds of ivory flitting past your air space. It was a surreal experience being one with nature and this amazing city of angels all while practicing the art of yoga.

Don’t be afraid to turn your world upside down. This was my forward fold view.

I am so grateful I had this opportunity to revel in something that combined my love for yoga with my love of clouds and nature, with a view of this city I have fallen in love with. If you ever have a chance I recommend you take the class. Next Tuesday at 6:30 will be the last class of the summer. You will not be sorry and you will come out refreshed, renewed, and ready to linger in life with a little more serenity and appreciate for this elusive state of being we call life.

Los Angeles from my roof top vantage point

Love and Light


I attempted to put together a photo album of the last year in review. to show my weight loss and fitness progress. Here is the link to my Facebook page.

Happy Weekend to all. Onward to year two and another 40 lbs and lots of fitness milestones and fitness goals to accomplish.


Good morning to all and a Happy Friday. We were away in Vegas with James’ good friend Ted and we have an awesome time. It was amazing being reunited with Ted and I am so grateful for the wonderful get-a- way we had.

I am back now, and back to the grind and a list of things to accomplish between now and the end of September. These are lists separate from my charities. The books are coming in for my book drive as I type, and I am grateful to the wonderful friends and new friends who are donating.

There may be a transition happening so I have been a little stressed, but in my eyes it has not happened as of yet so my focus is forward with everything I have planned here in Los Angeles. I refuse to worry about something that may or may not happen. I will deal with that storm if it occurs.

In the meantime…..Here is my list to get in gear now that I am back.

1. I want to surf, and my trainer Mike said whenever I am ready. So I need to purchase either a wet suit or a sporty bathing suit with swim pants and a vest or rash guard and take him up on his offer to teach me one of the first things that were on my first fitness bucket lists. The swim clothes will come in handy because James and I love to go to the beach, and I like nothing more than to swim and be one with the ocean.

2. I am going to sign up for Align Ballet Method in September. Over one year later it is time. 

3. I am going to take at least one class at the Cirque School in Hollywood, a 101 class and then maybe sign up for 5 more to begin. 

4. I may have some professional photos taken to update for my blog, plus I need a book jacket cover.

5. This is not blog related but I will have my poems picked out and sent to my publisher FinnLady Press back east. This book will get done.

It is early and I cannot think of what else should be on this list, so this is it for this morning. Coffee will jolt my memory.

Happy Friday to all.

Here are a few Vegas pics

The Pool at The Bellagio

Tree at the Bellagio Hotel, view from the pool.

James took this, not bad. Showing progress is fun, I admit it. At the Bellagio.
Good friends having a good laugh in front of the Bellagio in Vegas.
Teddy, James, and Me, reunited again. 

One selfie to see progress, and my legs are so much thinner now.


Good morning to all on this gifted Friday. I am away in Las Vegas for the weekend. This week I have decided everything I do I will do with 100% of my heart and soul. From the creative things I do, the physical, the mundane. If I am putting in my time and I putting my heart into it as well. I am also making some lists of larger things to accomplish in regards to my fitness journey, personal goals, volunteering and charity ideas. My day to day workouts with be harder too, and I will be pushing more. I am proud of how far I have come but I am reaching beyond the stars I love to gaze at. I will be kind to everyone that crosses my path, and I will try to exercise patience as well.

I feel I was stronger and worked harder with my workouts with Mike this week. My toe feels like it is healing, and we ran on Wednesday again for the first time in forever. No pain, and I feel great. We are working on pull-ups with the TRX.  Mike is helping me inch my way into a full pull up, and when I am able to master that I will be taking trapeze classes. It has been on my bucket list since NYC to take Trapeze Classes. I first saw the Trapeze School at Chelsea Piers and said I have to do that. I was actually planning on beginning a NYC bucket list blog and then we moved suddenly to Los Angeles. When I moved I saw the Trapeze School was also here at the Santa Monica Pier. I noted I could still take my classes but quickly realized I needed to work on my strength first. Side note about Mike my trainer. He is honestly a gift and anyone who works out with him will be lucky indeed. I hope he gets so many clients in the future, I am doing things I never knew I could do. I hope one day my best friend Melissa Bender from Melissa Bender Fitness can meet him, they both are my fitness inspirations. They also both put up with my issues and tell me to eat more, something that I am working on. No one can go it alone. It starts alone, but having a support network and friends who believe in you makes the journey more of a joy ride.

Wednesday was the best day ever. I met so many kind people who want to help me collect children’s books, and it continues on. I am so grateful for the kind people I am meeting. I was more excited about getting all the books for kids than leaving for Las Vegas. I tend to be a little, or a lot out of the box. More on my book drive soon. I was on my way home and I saw a man with a bag and I had to take a photo, it was a sign that I am moving in the right direction.

Off from my upgrade to a suite at the Orleans Hotel to the Bellagio this afternoon. Meeting up with my husbands best friend Ted who shares a birthday with James.  This suite is heaven. I ordered a pot of coffee from room service and I am in blogging heaven.

I made friendly chit chat with the gentleman at the front desk and got this upgrade.

The pot is always half full

Happy Friday to all
Love and light


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote is my new motto, and I am going to make a list of to do’s, wants and needs for each month. Feed my body, mind and soul, and accomplish all of my goals. I will stick to the wisdom this amazing writer shared with us. I think I have done pretty well so far.

I was out of town for two days, my husband James and I drove down to Orange County to spend some time with his twin brother Patrick who was in town. We stopped at some beautiful spots and I took some photos. My brother in law Patrick said he never saw me look this thin, even back in 2005. This was me back in Summer 2005. There was a full length mirror in the hotel, and I looked at my reflection with awe. I do not own a full length mirror so I was asking if that is what I look like. I am now grasping that I have come a long way. I still have a long journey ahead and a ton of goals.

Summer 2005

Ranchos  Palos Verdes

Back to work for a few days before I leave for Las Vegas tomorrow. I worked out with my trainer Mike last night, who I will kindly for now will call the Drill Sergeant. All in good fun of course, he knows how appreciative I am of him. He is pushing me harder now, and my allergies were killing me so breathing felt like an impossible feat. I am getting pretty strong though, and doing exercises with my hands over my head was not as difficult as it was last week. My foot felt good and I ate enough. I am trying to take my workouts and fitness goals to another level. I have so many things on my bucket list, and milestone list to accomplish.

I am still collecting books for my book drive. My next ten pound charity will bring me to about 157 lbs. I am planning an idea and I will post all about that soon.
Coffee, Think Thin bar for now. I work out with Mike again after work tonight. Then I have to do laundry, pack and get ready to leave for Las Vegas. Diet challenges always when I am away, but I am up for any challenge that comes in my directon.

Happy Wednesday to all


beauty surrounds us

I decided to skip weighing in weekly, and do so every few weeks. Today, after a week of being painfully female and maybe holding on to a bit of water weight, I can safely say my weight is holding steady at 167 lbs. No loss, no gain, no tears I am happy. I am happy but not content and I know where I am going, it is just going to take me some time to get there.

A new week, I am going to up my cardio. My toe was injured, and it was kind of getting in my way. I wrapped it because I thought I should, and I think I made it worse. I know I still need to have it seen, but since I stopped wrapping it I am in less pain. Time to up my running.

Coffee time, and then we are heading to the beaches. My husband James and I are off a few days, which creates food challenges because he wants to try fun summer foods and well I am trying to be good. There is nothing like sleeping in and waking up to the best faces on the planet, Spanky and Rascal.

So, it is a wrap for this week. 167 lbs. Book drive still in full force, and I am getting more books next week. I am looking into my next ten pound charity and getting ideas. 

Happy Weekend to all.


Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars.

A year ago when I first worked out with my co-worker Mike turned trainer and friend, he told me to crawl in the dirt. Never one to like getting dirty, I thought to myself he may be a little crazy and I may be even crazier for contemplating doing it. If you ask anyone who knows me, I have always been on the girly side and I avoided getting dirty at all costs. My sister Dona still claims I brought a curling iron camping. That was me at 16.  Last year I was was a bona fide east coaster from NYC lost in a California world.

So in 2013 I crawled in the dirt, did these exercises called burpees in the dirt, and I lived to tell the tale. I admitted afterwards I felt liberated and like a little kid again. Over the course of the last year I have become very accustomed to working out in the dirt, and getting dirty is nothing to me now. I do my burpees, stand up, dust myself off and keep moving on. I do feel like a little kid. I find getting dirty grounds you. I feel closer to the earth and one with nature.

Today was my workout with Mike, and he brought his adorable dog Apollo to our workout, and I admit it was a lovely distraction. I have always loved animals, James and I have cats because it is lower maintenance but we adore dogs as well. Apollo was so sweet and just wanted to frolic with the other dogs. There is this big St Bernard named Floppy that I am a little in love with. Apollo and Floppy became fast friends.

We did a lot of upper body, and worked on my proper squat form. Mike is not letting me get off so easy anymore, and it is time I stepped up the pace. Afterwards we do stretches, and Mike uses a tennis ball to get the kinks out of my back and arms. This time it was a tennis ball christened with dog slobber courtesy of Apollo. We laughed how funny it was, a year later with a drooled on tennis ball massaging my arms. Afterwards, Apollo decided to kick dirt all on me and the mat, and I am now officially an outdoor girl. We took photos of the doggy debacle. One thing I found to be ironic, Mike has been telling me not to be afraid of dirt for one year now, but he had to pick the grass out of my hair. It was in some odd way out of character for him. Me, on the other hand I was like what the hell it is only grass. Chill out dude. Grass is everywhere in California. 🙂

I am signing up to do the Spartan Mud Race in December. I am going into my 48th year not afraid to get dirty nor do I care what people think of me. Dirt is very liberating indeed.

Apollo is simply adorable

My Trainer Mike trying to train with his dog Apollo by his side

No argument from me, I adore all creatures of the universe

Mike and Apollo wrestling

What a cutie,  adopt a rescue cat or dog.

Apollo kicked dirt on me and sat on me,and I did not mind one bit

Dirt, and yes that drooled on tennis ball massaged my back and arms

Haha, I have come a long way from city life in NYC. I am now officially grounded and one with nature.