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Summer’s best salad

August 6th, 2015 No Comments

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Joyce Chang, a remarkable, motivated woman and the Editor-in-Chief of Self magazine.  Amongst several topics we discussed, she told me two important things about her publication: their advice is offered by experts and backed up with scientific research (we can’t say that for every magazine out there), and “we do tons of salads.” Good to know! I get so bored making the same combos.

In that vein, I offer you my latest and greatest that I refer to as my Summer Fruit Salad. I take beautiful baby lettuces, herbs, and sweeten them up with summer’s best fruits.

Summer Fruit Salad

  • Mixed greens (stay away from anything peppery or bitter)
  • Torn fresh herbs (dill is the most important, flat parsley, cilantro)
  • A mixture of your favorite summer fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, red grapes, plums)
  • Optional: cucumber, avocado
  • Brianna’s dressing (either Blush Wine or the Poppy Seed which I  dilute with lemon juice so it’s not so thick)
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Toasted walnuts or slivered almonds
  • Goat Cheese (go to the cheese shop and get one that’s smooth, not too tangy)

Optional: Roasted your own chicken

This actually takes the salad to another level because it’s so tender.

Chicken breast with bone and skin on.  Make a marinade of EVOO, chopped rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Or you can use a pre-made pesto to save time. Shove under the skin and lather the breast.  Roast at 450 until cooked through.  Remove skin and cut up.

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Thank God for closure.

August 5th, 2015 No Comments

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know a few years ago (two and a half to be exact), my heart was shattered by the man I called the love of my life.

I’m not going to dive back into the details because moving forward is about looking ahead not looking back.

What I’m realizing now is that we can have TRUE CLOSURE in life.  So many times I have heard myself say, “I’m over it,” whatever it might be, but in my heart I know that’s not the truth.  Last week, I finally experienced real closure on my past love and woke up liberated, like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

Closure came after going out with him twice over the past two months.  The first time I was scared to death, but armed with a well-rounded life and a killer blowout, I made it through dinner feeling confident.  So to my surprise, when I got home, I broke down into tears on the couch.  My outburst wasn’t due to uncontrolable love for him though…it was my first sense of release!

But, I didn’t know why or how or what was better now….It took date #2 to get that straight.

This time I think he planned so I would be wearing a bikini, he always loved me in a bathing suit…thankfully that doesn’t bother me in the least.  We spent the day in Laguna laying out by the pool, reminiscing about our past life together, eating at the bar like we used to, and snuggling under the stars at an outdoor concert.  It was sweet and comfortable, but not emotional. THANK GOD.

After these two dates, I have come to find out our extraordinary love is history.  Those memories only survive in stories, really wonderful stories.  Our friendship will never die, our chemistry will always be charged, but the desire to be with each other is finally gone.


Everything seems to be so much easier now.  I feel more rested; the tension in my neck has subsided; daily activities are effortless.  I never realized before how heavy his emotional baggage was for me.

After a few days of thinking around this concept of “closure” I’ve come to realize a few important things I can apply to other conflicts in my life in an attempt to find a resolution and a feeling of satisfaction.

1.  Give it time.

I’m one of those people who likes to confront conflict head on and get it over with.  Carrying a pit in my stomach is one of the worst feelings, in my opinion.  “Why not just talk about it now and move on?” is my thought.  Because time allows emotions to settle and the real issue to reveal itself.

If I had seen my ex last year and gone out on these two dates, I’m not sure I would have come out of with closure.

2.  Let go of control.

It’s very rare that people do what we want them to do. All we can do is make the best decisions for ourselves.

As hard as it was, I moved on and built a life that makes me very happy.  If I had seen him in a state of misery or even transition, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to meet him again with confidence.

3.  There is no need to blame.

In my relationships, I never assign blame. How can we confine a relationship, something so volatile, to one instance?  A big part of my ability to find closure was that I didn’t have to forgive him.  I never had any resentment towards him.  When we split, I fully understood his reasons and I accepted them as his reality.  I hated the circumstances, but I accepted them. With that perspective, I realized I had no control of him and had to move on.

4.  Learn from your loss.

When you come out the other side feeling like you’ve gained something, it’s easier to move forward.

When I felt nostalgic, I let my mind stumble down a road of memories which inevitably led to a waterfall of tears.  Those moments allowed me to know how meaningful our relationship was.  This wasn’t loneliness I was experiencing, it was loss. And when I knew I didn’t want to lose again, to feel like this again, I realized all of the things I had done to contribute to our demise.  So many trips to that past have changed me to be a better person.

4.  If you’re scared, it’s important enough to do it.

Going out with my ex for the first time I was tingling with fear and excitement.  That’s how I knew that no matter what happened, I had made the right decision to see him again.  Those kinds of strong emotions, the ones that overwhelm you, shouldn’t be contained forever.

5.  Know exactly what you want the outcome to be.

When you go into any meeting, you have a goal: win their favor, make the sale, get the contract signed, whatever it is. The same holds true here.

When I told people I was going out with my ex, they all said, “Don’t have sex with him, you’re not going to have sex with him, right?”  Right.  If sex was what I wanted all along, I knew he would be a phone call away.  Closure, which is what I was after, is much harder to get and exponentially more satisfying. (I’ll look back at that and probably disagree later;))


By no means am I suggesting this a formula, just hindsight presenting some signs to point me in the right direction.


The only issue I’m left with now is a very high bar for the true love of my life.

Or possibly he was the one and we missed our chance? If that’s the case, I feel blessed to have experienced that degree of love.

At 33, I’m optimistic.  Life is more fun that way.  At the very least, I look forward to sharing my life with some extraordinary people.



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Class Pass isn’t the only fitness app in town now

August 3rd, 2015 No Comments


We all want to be in shape, but making it fit into our schedule and budget isn’t always easy.  For the past few weeks, while I’ve been absent from the blog, I’ve felt that same pressure you do, and I teach 5 classes a week!  Being super busy with two clients, running the studio, and traveling, my weight-training fell to the waist-side along with my blogging.  Oh the guilt that set in!

ClassPass has been the best game in town to satisfy the budget issue.  With a $99/month membership, you can go to participating studios in any city and attend classes they post on CP up to three visits a month.  If you want to go to a class that’s not posted, or you want to go more often, you have to pay the normal rate.

These two new fitness apps/programs are filling in two HUGE holes in the ClassPass system. You’ll see that Wildfire goes after the fitness fanatic, the other goes after the sporadic.

The drawback for all three is that not all studios participate.  For example, if you want to go to SoulCycle, which is super exclusive, you have to book directly through them.

Finally, both are fairly new to the market and therefore not widely available. Keep an eye out when they touch down in your city.


Wildfire gives you unlimited classes in the studios on their roster for $149/month.  So if you wanted to RYDE 3 times a week, go to a bootcamp once a week, and do yoga once a week, maybe throw in a barre class, you’re getting over  $100/week of classes for about $27.





ZenRez is for the person who can’t plan ahead, just needs to get into a class NOW.  Find last minute classes in your area with availability and book a spot for a fraction of the price.   I’m not putting RYDE4 on ZenRez simply because our classes are already HALF of what most studios in the are charge.

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Hours in the sun without an inch of sunburn!

July 7th, 2015 No Comments

After countless hours of the Mexican sun over the Fourth of July holiday, I’m happy to report there is not an inch of skin on my body that is burned!!

I coved myself neck to toe in Nivea.

Nivea Invisible Protection, SPF 50

Spray on oil I rubbed in. Survives beach runs and shower rinses.

Pretty amazing stuff.

(Please excuse alignment, WP apparently hates me right now.)

Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 55

Not one spot on my face is red thanks to Neutrogena.

And after the sun set, I rehydrated with Darphin on my face and neck so I could do it all over again :)

Darphin Revitalizing Oil

Darphin Revitalizing Oil

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Add this exercise to any routine, especially if you don’t have one

July 6th, 2015 No Comments


This weekend I had a lot of different conversations about exercise, most of which will fuel my posts over the next few weeks. Because it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing, I’m a fitness crazy person.  The point is for you to take the information, hopefully learn something, and be inspired to try new things.  Change comes from change, right?

The first step to getting in better shape is to exercise, which a lot of people don’t do.  That mental barrier is the hardest one for all of us to break down.  Then, once you get over saying no, you have to choose a type of exercise you will commit to.  Then, there’s the intimidation factor, the budgeting of time and money, the exhaustion that already dominates you day.  The list goes on right?!

This exercise is easy and challenging, works your whole body, you can do it anywhere, with or without weights, to start your day or end your day.

It’s a “don’t think just do it” kinda thing.

If you don’t workout at all, do this exercise to ease back into it.  You’ll see results fast if you do 20 reps, three times.

If you’re already active, throw this in between weightlifting sets to raise your heart rate, before a yoga class to warm up, after a spin class to build strength, you get the idea.

JUST DO IT. It’s too easy not to.

3 sets of 20 reps (ten on each leg).

Don’t worry about rotating, that was just to show you the move from all sides.

Off you go!

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Get your Body Prepared for the Holiday So It Keeps Working As You Keep Drinking

June 29th, 2015 No Comments

(Photo by Kelly Fajak) 

Holidays seem to be relaxing for our heads, but not really for our bodies. Yes, we decrease the physical exercise, but at the same time we intentionally increase the caloric intake.  Laying out on the beach, we absolutely need a margarita in hand.  The hot weather insists on cold beer.  How could we not eat burgers at a pool party?  And yes, I’d like cheese on that.

So while we’re not holding on to a ton of guilt, we’re demanding our bodies work overtime to allow us to relax.

You might think I’m going to tell you NOT to do any of those things.  You would be wrong.  I’ll be right there with you pouring the tequila and making patties.

So our plan should be to get our metabolism in gear before the festivities begin.

Here is the plan of attack:

1.  HITT – High Intensity Interval Training.

Taking your heart rate to its max and then dropping it down again.  You can do this in so many way: spin class, boot camp, boxing, circuit training, running up a hill, etc.

It’s not easy, but it’s effective in spiking your metabolism.


2.  Keep Eating!

To prep for days in bathing suits, we usually starve ourself.  Bad idea.  If you stop eating now, your metabolism will slow down.  When it’s hit with the onslaught of goodies, it won’t be prepared.

Keep it moving at regular pace by eating 5 small meals a day.  Each including protein, carbs, and fat.

3.  Drink lots of water.

Sunshine and booze are satisfying and depleting at the same time.  Hydrate your body now!

The additional water will help control your portion control at meals as well.

4.  Plan ahead.

Plan one day when you will exercise.  Make it your favorite workout so you’ll want to do it.  You don’t have to make it a killer workout, just one to keep everything in motion.

I promise you now, you will feel AMAZING after you’re done.

A few of my vacation workouts here:

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Make the best guac ever

June 25th, 2015 No Comments

  Coming from Texas, I hold a very high standard for fresh guacamole.  At this point, I think I’ve perfected my recipe.  Honestly it’s not much of a recipe, but each component is important.

1.  Ripe Avocados

Since avocados ripen from the inside out, you’ll know it’s ready to go when the point farthest from the core is soft.

At home, cut them down the center and cut into cubes.  Do not stir the guac at all until every component is in the bowl.

2.  Cherry Tomatos

Small tomatoes have a lot more flesh and  less liquid and seeds that you would have to clean out of larger tomatoes.

3.  Sweet Onions

Most people use white onions and they dominate the dip.  A milder onion has proven to keep the bite but not distract you from the avocado.

Chop them up small and remember less is more.

4.  Garlic

You don’t need much, just a clove or two depending on how much you’re making.

5.  Cilantro and Lime

Yes, you need them both.  I cut the leaves of the cilantro in half.  Cut the lime in half and just squeeze half.  Add more to taste from there.

4.  Make Your Own Chips

This might be the most important step!

In a large pan, heat up canola or EVOO, to the point that if you splash water on it, the oil sizzles.  While it’s heating, cut up flour and corn tortillas into strips or triangles. Lay out some paper towels and put some sea salt in a bowl.

Fry up the chips, turning them only once so they’re brown on both sides.  Remove from oil and lay them in a single layer on the towels.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Test out one chip from your first batch to make sure they’re fully cooked and not chewy.  When they’re cool, place in separate bowls if you’re doing corn and flour.

Here’s a shot of the last batch I made for fight night at Kitty’s house. Six people ate the whole bowl!

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The newest anti-aging procedure doesn’t involve surgery

June 23rd, 2015 No Comments


Preface: I really struggled to find a photo to headline this post.  Beauty and confidence is such a personal, internal matter.  Please take this post as an update on the anti-aging industry, not a comment on exteral appearance, and do with the info with what you see fit.

The neck is one of those stubborn areas that changes according to our genetics and age.  Unfortunately we can’t exercize our neck to tighten it up.  A cleaner diet and a little more cardio will help, but not even veggies can reverse the result of time on our neck or get rid of a premature “double chin.”

Enter Kybella 

An injection of acid (already present in your body)

below your chin that destroys the fat cells

so they can no longer accumulate or store fat.

Kybella before and after

When I read Dr. Angela’s (a my client of mine) article about this simple procedure my mouth dropped!

Dr. Angela Sturm is a young plastic surgeon in Houston who keeps herself on the cutting edge of the anti-aging trends, focusig a lot on preventative and non-invasive procedures that help us to stay looking our best.  She is my favorite for botox :)

A couple weeks ago, she wrote a piece for MyRedGlasses (a notable fashion blog in Houston helmed by Roz Pactor) on the latest technique to keep us looking younger.  Below are a few experts, click here to read the whole article.

“Kybella, also known as ATX 101, is deoxycholic acid that is already in your body.  It is made by your liver to help dissolve fats in your diet to aid in absorption.  When it is injected into the submental fat, this substance disrupts the membrane on the fat cells and permanently dissolves those cells.

  • Small amounts injected into multiple sites under your chin.
  • Number of series can vary depending on the person, amount of fat and your goal. 
  • Some people may only need one session, but others may need up to 6 treatments at least a month apart.

Dissolving fat in a progressive way that most people won’t notice that you did anything.  That sounds pretty good.  So, what’s the downside? 

  • Swelling and bruising at the injection site (which is true with any injection),
  • Injury to nerves or glands in the area (why you should have someone very familiar with the anatomy as the injector, like a surgeon)
  • Difficulty swallowing due to swelling in the area (which always resolved and most within a couple of days).

In the hands of a skilled injector, the product is still relatively low risk and avoids surgery

Kybella is scheduled to be on the market this summer and I think this could change the way we think about fat!

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