Monthly Archives: January 2015

Have fun at work (with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies)

If you are like most people you woke up Monday morning a little less cheerful than you were when you awakened the Friday morning before. Monday’s the most undesirable day of the week and Friday’s the most revered.  There are so many cliches about the monotony of the work week and the freedom and fun that comes once that 5:00 bell tolls on Friday. Everyone is working for the weekend, work hard play harder, Thank god it’s Friday. There have even been cheesy yet catchy songs written about Friday that took the nation by storm. It suggests that the work week is void of fun and enjoyment and once the weekend arrives the party is on.

Here’s a quote I like:

A weekend wasted isn’t a wasted weekend.A witty saying proves nothing. — Voltaire
Let’s go back to this main idea. It’s a novel concept to have fun while working. It does spark thoughts that maybe work could be more enjoyable and less of a mundane chore. I think the work day can be fun if you change your attitude and engage more with the people you work with.
Today I did my part to make fun a reality where I work. What better way to spark happiness in your co-workers than to share delicious decadent treats.  I baked homemade healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and shared them with my co-workers. At first I got some skeptical glances and utter terror when I explained they were sugar free and flour free, but every last one of my cookies were devoured so they must have been pretty delicious. Nothing brings on a fun-like atmosphere like chocolate. I love sharing treats that are as good for the body as they are for the soul.
It’s such a simple recipe.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
You will need only seven ingredients
3 bananas, mashed with a fork
1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
half cup almond milk, soy milk, or low fat milk
Combine mashed banana, oats, applesauce and mix well. Add almond milk, vanilla, and dark chocolate chips and mix again. Bake for 20 minutes on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degree oven or in mini muffin tins like I did.
Let cool. enjoy and be sure to share and make someone smile.
Everyday should be National Have Fun At Work Day.With healthy treats like these you could have this much fun every single day. Tons of fun without any of the guilt.
Rose Bruno Bailey Mantra Fitness

Weight loss can be slow; don’t worry if it is. The process is a journey.

January is almost over — the Super Bowl is this Sunday, which is February 1st, and I’m already thinking about how to cook healthy for that — and as you get to the end of January, a lot of people have already given up their New Year’s Resolutions — concepts they set only about four weeks ago.

You see this a lot in the fitness and dieting space. Fitness and dieting-related Resolutions are alwayssome of the most popular, and always some of the quickest to fall away due to laziness, lack of knowledge, a focus on the other things in your busy life, or whatever the reason is.

There are entire sections of bookstores about fad diets, and I briefly considered some of those when I started my own fitness journey. I say “briefly” because it was really almost no time at all; I knew I wanted to try and lose weight in a healthy, productive manner — and, at the same time, challenge myself by making sure I was tied to a bigger cause. In my case? That was contributing money to charities for every 10 pounds I lost; you can read a little bit about this here.

That all said — and this is important for anyone to remember — it’s been a slow process. It took me 1 year to lose my first 45 pounds. I thought it would be much quicker, and that year required a lot of discipline, working out, healthy cooking and eating, etc. Over time, I came to look at fitness and weight loss as akin to a journey or a road trip — which my husband James and I love to do — which means it can take a while, but along the way there are beautiful things to see, even if you’re not yet at the final destination.

I recently bought a scale, but that was mostly for tracking. I don’t want to be a slave to the scale. I’m around 165 pounds, with a goal weight in the 130s — but my next step is in the middle 150s; when I lose the next 10, I’ll be donating to a charity. Right now I’m thinking about working with a local non-profit on a raffle, but I need to do a little more research. We’ve only lived in the Bay Area for a few months — moved here from Los Angeles in the fall — and I’m still getting my footing. It’s week three of my ambassador work with Melissa Bender Fitness, though, and that’s been a strong guiding force.

Sometimes it’s all about doing the micro things, too. For example, yesterday I took a different train home from work; that allowed me an extra long walk back to our actual house. It’s a small thing, but it helps.

I am a free spirit and I do not believe much in rules, but I read about a rule of fitness in a magazine.
“Never go more than two days without working out.”
This is now my own personal mantra. I will never give up.
Love and Light to all
Italian Style Chicken Strips

Healthy weeknight dinner: Italian-style baked chicken strips

Growing up, my mom made the best Sunday night dinners. I know this can be a cliche for a lot of neighborhoods, but these were truly the kind of meals that brought the neighbors over. As I got older and started dancing, I would go off in my room and eat a yogurt to avoid the deliciousness coming from the kitchen; back then dieting meant food avoidance and lots of Diet Coke.

As you get older, things obviously change; the concept of starving and living on Diet Coke is no longer in vogue. For me, after losing my first 45 pounds, I can say I have learned what works for my body: healthy eating and nothing too extreme. I ear carbohydrates, I just do not eat them at every meal and the majority of my meals are completely clean and healthy. I am learning moderation and self-control.

Sunday I decided to experiment in the kitchen. I cooked what I had on hand, and I came up with what my husband James called a home run. I made chicken with tomatoes, onions and garlic in the oven and served it with my take on healthy mashed potatoes and vegetables.

For dessert I made clean eating oatmeal banana chocolate cookies with no sugar.

Here’s a picture of the main dish:

Rose Bruno Bailey Italian Style Chicken Strips

Here’s how you do it.

Italian Style Baked Chicken Strips
One bag all white meat chicken strips (pre-cooked); I bought mine from Costco
2 cans of diced tomatoes in garlic
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
7 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
Place the chicken in a large baking pan, and mix in the diced onions and garlic. Add two cans of canned tomatoes and two tablespoons olive oil. Mix all ingredients and season with salt, pepper, basil and parsley and mix once again. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
For the mashed potatoes all I did was boil 10 red potatoes until they were soft, and after the chicken was cooked I drained some of the tomato juice into the potatoes and added 1 tablespoon of light butter and one tablespoon of Greek yogurt and mashed them manually. Salt and Pepper and garlic salt. End result tomato flavored mashed potatoes — so healthy and super simple.
This meal reminded me of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but without the guilt and high caloric count that comes with the comfort food I grew up with.
I hope you have a wonderful day and realize that the process of cooking and eating healthy is simpler than we all realize — sometimes it can be just what we have on hand.
Love and light to all.
Rose Bruno Bailey Cowboy Hat

Some of my early Northern California exploring

Explorer: a person who investigates unknown regions.

If you’ve read this blog or know a little about my backstory, you probably know that I recently (within about six months) moved to the Bay Area in northern California; my husband James got a job offer in this region. Previous to this move, we had lived in Los Angeles for about four years, and prior to that, we had lived in New York City and Connecticut.

As a result, we’ve done a lot of exploring over the past few years as we discover new places.

One of my favorite things to do is to get of the rectangular box and spend time exploring where I live. I like to think I am a modern day explorer, finding new remote nooks on my journeys. Living all over the country has made my life an adventure.
Friday I did some exploring in my own neighborhood. I figured I would get a long walk in and see where my feet could take me. I ended up at the library and received my library card so I can read til my hearts content, then I walked miles and discovered a thrift store and a vintage store. My heart paused for a mili second. Treasures on this expedition? Yes, please.
Here’s the beginning of the walk:
My healthy lifestyle requires me to be diligent about my diet and workouts, and I do not stray. That does not mean I never have a little of something decadent. I follow what is called the 80/20 rule. I eat clean, no processed food 80% of the time and  I allocate the other 20% for small indulgences. The treasures I discovered in the thrift store had my name written all over it. Mini cup cake pans for 99 cents. I bought three and I plan on making mini muffins and mini black bean brownie bites Sunday afternoon when I play domestic. This girl likes a little sweet with her coffee once in a while.
unnamed (1)
I found a cowboy hat at the vintage store, and of course I bought it. Everyone needs at least one white cowboy hat in their closet. Who knows where I will rock the hat — perhaps country line dancing? Combining a fun night out, fashion, and cardio. That is how I roll.
You can see the picture of me in the hat at the top of this post.
This weekend we are exploring Santa Cruz CA, and I will have plenty of photos of the magnificent Pacific Coastline to share. Another chance to get in extra cardio, a brisk speed walk oceanside. I will get my Melissa Bender Fitness workout in today either before or after, but of course I do not skip.
I read somewhere never go two days without working out, and that is one of the rules I like to follow. Everyone’s body is different, I think to think after my first 45 lb weight loss I am getting to know my own body. For the first time in a long time we are now on a first name basis.
Life is such a joyride if you ask me, crank up the road trip music get out there and explore beyond your own backyard.
Love and Light to all


Rose Bruno Bailey Richard Simmons

Why did I start My Change For A Ten?

It is amazing how often we look in the mirror. We wake up, wash our face, and get ready for our day. We look in the mirror when we check our reflection to make sure we look presentable before we walk out the door. We see ourselves constantly but do we really see ourselves as others see us?

Homer Simpson Mirror

I was a dancer. I went to school for theater and dance; I studied ballet, jazz, modern and even did ballroom/latin. Dance is my first passion. I took pride in my dancers’ form and I walked with an air of confidence that dancers earn from years of training. I also had some issues with eating disorders and kept my weight within the range of 100 lbs and 135 lbs. When I hit 35, my weight started to go up and down, but it never got truly out of control until after 40. Even at that point I never considered the possibility that I could be obese.
I actually had a sign I had a weight problem the summer of 2011, but I was in denial. I went to a doctor in Beverly Hills who insisted I needed Bariatric surgery. He humiliated me, and accused me of lying about my diet.  On my walk home I was in tears, and I was suddenly startled when I was approached by the famous director Quentin Tarantino. He asked me for a business card and stated he was interested in me for a movie he was filming. I did not give him any information and totally botched what could have been a pivotal moment in my life, all because of what happened earlier in the day with the fat-shaming Beverly Hills doctor. Even after that moment I did not believe I could be that person, a person who was on the far side of fit. I just felt I was just a little chubby.
I am a poet, and I was attending an open mic in Hollywood with some friends in 2013. My photographer friend Xiomara offered to take some photos of me standing at the mic reading my poetry. I felt on top of the world that night; it was my first reading since moving from NYC to Los Angeles and my poetry really resonated with the audience that evening. It was time to shine, or so I thought.
Later that week Xiomara emailed me the photos, and I could not believe my eyes. I was looking at my own image, and the person in the photo was a stranger to me. Who was she? I did not recognize my own face and body, and I was mortified that I let myself get to the point of obesity. That was the last reading I attended.
I took a self-esteem dive right into the oblivion of insecurity and body hatred:
Rose Bruno Bailey Before Pictures

It was months until I was ready to take action: months of feeling terrible about myself, months of overeating and under-exercising. It was months before I faced the dreaded scale.  I let myself sink further before I was ready to make a change. The change came in an idea — an idea that came from my writer and humanitarian side of my personality.

I wanted to start a blog.
I actually had two blogs working but the missing link was something to strive for: a journey, a path.  I also realized how much I loved giving back in the past. Yes, I gave back in little ways daily to random people I encountered. A sandwich for a homeless man, a donation to an animal rescue but I wanted, or I needed to do more. I remembered how I planned Downward Dog For Cats back in 2012, a yoga event in Los Angeles to raise money for a local animal rescue. It was like a light bulb flashed inside my  myopic mind. I gave more to others than I gave to  myself. I was putting myself last and trashing my temple. I thought what if I were to combine my philanthropic ways with a weight loss regimen and blog about my experience.
I decided to sponsor a charity with every ten pounds I lost, contacting the charity before I lost each ten pounds. I was now accountable — and going public with my journey — so I thought there was no way I could fail. I decided to be completely transparent: sharing my weight which was 210 lbs and before photos, basically sharing my whole life.
My idea was met with such enthusiasm, I was offered training from a co-worker turned friend named Mike. I was cast in a Richard Simmons video, the beginning in July 2013 started off on such a hopeful note. I would lose weight, help others, and have a blast doing it. I would have no fear, and be impeccable with my word. When I said I would do something, I did it.
My journey became a thrilling adventure and I lost almost 50 lbs and did things I would have never assumed I could do at this time in my life. I ran a 5k, missed the turn and completed a 10k. I did yoga on a heli-pad on a rooftop in LA. I have loved every minute of the ride, met some beautiful souls along the twists and turns of my road less traveled, and I am humbled that I have had the chance to do my little part to make a difference.
Now I find myself at a crossroads, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, continuing on my never ending quest to for fitness, philanthropy and feeling fearless and high on being alive. I am far from an after, but so much better than I once was before. All with a little help from my friends.

Rose Bruno Bailey Weight Loss

Investigating my BMI

I like to think that through this weight loss/fitness/charity journey of mine I have become healthier, fitter, and definitely wiser. I work hard, workout harder, eat clean and treat my body as if it were the Taj Mahal. With that said, I am also hard on myself when I sometimes look in the mirror. It is as if I expect to already have achieved my goals, and for my appearance to reflect that lofty ambition.

The reality is this: I am not a before, nor I am I an after. I am a constant evolution of transition and change for the better, constantly growing, steadily shifting.  I am in a far better place than I was when I began this project in July 2013, but that does not mean I am going to look as fit as my role models, at least not yet. I am damn proud of how far I have come; I am just saying I am far from done. I hope this year to work hard and earn the fittest body I have had in years, with a little help from Melissa Bender Fitness.

Stats exist for us to know where we stand — and how far we would like to go. Sometimes statistics are a bitter pill to swallow. It depends on your perspective. I am finally out of the obese range according to the BMI chart.

What’s BMI?

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight.
Here’s mine:
Rose Bruno Bailey BMII am still in the overweight range.
I really did not need to calculate the test though, I follow my own test;  I call it the sit down test. If you sit down and look in the mirror and do not feel or look as fit as you do standing up, well there is your own personal body mass index and you have more work to do.
I consider this a positive, I was well in the range of obese when I began. My weight was 210 and my former BMI was 37.2.
I am in a far better place than I was then, and I should not expect myself to be as perfect as an athlete. I have big ambitions, and I will get to where I wish to be. This is just a healthy reminder where I stand and a reminder to keep my perspective and keep working harder than yesterday.
Love and Light
Rose Bruno Bailey Pacific Ocean

Balance is the key to achieving goals

Good Monday Morning to all.  I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend. My husband James and I went exploring up the Pacific Coast Highway this weekend and stopped to see the unparalleled beauty of the mighty Pacific. I am a  firm believer that being in nature helps nurture your mind and body connection; there’s nothing like the serene beauty of the ocean to feed your soul. I am not only working on my body, but my spirit as well. The mind, body, and spirit are interconnected and to be healthy in one you must find peace within the others.

I believe to achieve your goals you need the proper tools. For me I need four major tools to continue on my quest to be in the best shape of my life, both physically and spiritually.

1. Frequent bouts in nature, working out and being in the outdoors. My body needs to breathe fresh air daily and my spirit loves to see the beauty of California. I have become a Californian through and through.

2. The tools to progress in fitness. I am grateful to Melissa Bender Fitness for her support and workouts, a huge part of the second phase of my fitness goals — as well as a gym membership, and my home fitness equipment, and of course good running shoes. I will be getting a new pair soon. With these tools I am able to follow my workouts at home and on days off at the gym.

3. A well stocked pantry so I can cook healthy meals without having to run to the grocery store daily. I am excited to experiment in my new kitchen.

4. A balanced work week to be able to make items 1-3 a reality. Sometimes my job is a challenge, but I have been working on communication and getting the best schedule for my lifestyle. Balance is the key.

Someone asked me how I am able to eat so healthy and not give in all the time.  My answer? This is not a diet but a healthy lifestyle; my body is my temple and I wish to furnish it wisely with clean food and lots of fresh water. I have challenges, I am human, but I do feel my best when I stick to the lifestyle I have adopted in Los Angeles. Having a fitness role model like Melissa Bender Fitness to turn to help me with ideas for meals as well as workouts is a godsend.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. Change is not a chore when your choice to change is motivated by passion.

Love and Light to all
Rose Bruno Bailey weight loss

Weighing in: My goal weight is 135.

Good Morning — Happy Friday to all. I am excited to announce I bought a scale. My old one broke in our recent move from Los Angeles to the Bay Area — and it took me a while to replace it. I finally stepped on and I am the same weight, which means I got through my difficult transition from LA to San Francisco and the holidays without putting on any weight. I was terrified to step on that menacing glass contraption but I needed to face my fears and I am so happy I did. No weight gain after my last few months is a huge victory for me.

I am nowhere near finished, though. It has been a while since I dropped weight and I said I was going to focus on fitness and not the scale and I stick to that plan. However, I do need a way to measure. This is how I look at it, typically:

  • My before weight — before I started this fitness plan and blog, etc. — was 210.
  • My current weight is 165.
  • My goal weight is 135.

I am very curvy, with muscular legs. I have a classic hourglass figure but I am only 5-3, so I feel 135 would be the perfect weight for my body type and height. I have problem spots I need to work on, and being a lower weight will help.

I am researching my next charity, and this time I am planning on doing an online raffle to raise money for a non-profit in my area. I am looking into ideas and touching base with the people who run the non-profits.

My brain feels a bit sleepy today; it is amazing how the sun feeds your energy. There is less sunlight here than in Los Angeles, and I really notice a difference in the way I feel first thing in the morning. The fog makes me want to stay in bed but instead I will conquer the day. It is Friday — a long day at work and a day off from my workout plan.

Back at the workout grind tomorrow on my Saturday off.

Have a wonderful Friday


Rose Bruno Bailey Yoga Helipad Los Angeles

Revisiting my fitness bucket list

The photo you see here was my view doing yoga (in forward fold) on a helipad on top of a building in LA. I love to see things from different perspectives.
Good Morning to all. Let’s start with a basic question:
What are you doing today, this week, this year to make your goals a reality?
Dreams are never lofty thoughts that cannot come to fruition as long as you believe.

What would life be like if we were all perfect? We would have nothing to strive for, nothing to motivate us to be the best versions of ourselves.

I love that feeling of being challenged, of starting anew. I have so many goals: personal, artistic, creative, fitness, and philanthropic. I am always trying to shoot for the stars. I have a fitness bucket list, for example. I thought it might be helpful to share it here — it makes me more accountable, and maybe it will inspire others as well.

1. Trapeze Classes
I am actually doing this one! It will happen in the next few months based on my work with Melissa Bender Fitness. I’m excited — and get ready for a post with a ton of pictures (and maybe even a video).

2. Sign up and compete another race.

3. Do a month long yoga challenge, working on my home and studio practice

4. A workout video with Melissa Bender Fitness

5. Take a surfing lesson this summer

6. Aerial Classes

7. Yoga photos around San Francisco

8. Obtain exercise certifications

9.Send my story to a weight loss magazine to be featured in I did it section

10. Lose 30 more pounds

(In terms of the race/run, I’m thinking about a Color Run. There is a Color Run in San Francisco, although the exact date for 2015 hasn’t been determined. My husband James loves Las Vegas, and there’s a Color Run there in late February. Hmmmm.)

This is a very streamlined version of my list, and I will be updating it soon and adding more items. I want to be able to be challenged and make my goals a reality.  Since I began in 2013  I did a few really interesting things. I was in a Richard Simmons video, as well as doing a 5k and missed the turn and completed the 10k. I also planked for over five minutes and beat my Los Angeles trainer Mike, and  he was a very good sport about it.

My wish today for you is that you have the hope of a child, the enthusiasm of a cheerleader, the determination of an athlete. Inspiration is everywhere for the taking.

Love and Light
12 Bean Vegetarian Chili

Easy recipe for 12-bean vegetarian chili

I love to make soups and vegetarian chili. They are so easy and tend to last a few days.

This recipe is so easy; I whipped it up in no time and it was delicious and healthy.

1 bag dry 12 bean soup (Use just the beans and not the seasoning)

1 whole onion

5 celery stalks

6 cloves of garlic

Dry Basil

2 cartons low sodium vegetable broth

Ground Pepper

4 cans fire roasted tomatoes

1 can corn rinsed and drained

2 bags chili seasoning from McCormick

You may need to soak the beans overnight — or do a quick soak (30 minutes) beforehand. Place the beans in cold water and boil on high for two minutes, then let them sit for one hour, rinse and you are ready to cook.

Saute onion and celery til clear and then add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the soaked and rinsed beans and the two cartons of vegetable broth. Season with pepper, basil and add tomatoes and corn. Add the two packets of chili spices and let cook on low for an hour and a half. When you are finished you can add some fat free sour cream or non fat greek yogurt.

It is delicious and truly a simple recipe.

Enjoy! Namaste’