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Mom 21 Year Anniversary


Dear Mom,

Well, this year it has been 21 years that you have been gone. Since I had just turned 21 when you had passed away, this means that you now have been gone just as long as you were here on earth. I have been fearing this milestone for a long time, for some reason. It feels a bit sad, I’m not going to lie. I don’t want the memories to be distant, or fade away.

But I won’t let this letter have a sad tone.  I have worked so hard on ME for the past years, to be healthy inside and out that I am able to deal with sadness and fears much better. I have much more perspective and depth now. I look back to 21 years ago and how that was the darkest point in my life. I was in high school, and I had to grow up really damn fast by watching you get sick, eventually lose your battle, and finish my last year of college to then embark into the real world without you. However; out of all that, I became a very strong, independent, focused, passionate, happy, lover of life and people person! I learn more about myself each and every year since then, it’s crazy. I feel like 21 years ago I didn’t know who I was, where I was going, or what I wanted. I was much more of a people-pleaser, afraid to use my voice  (I am sure most of it was because I was so young), but the other part of me thinks that perhaps that was the person I was back then. Being forced to grow up quickly helped me to figure out a lot of things about me and become the person I really am! It was fight or flight, and I may have chosen flight for a few years I then chose fight!

Attending a conference for my fitness job just last month, had me reflecting on a lot of these things I mentioned above. I went to this conference in order to connect with my like-minded friends from all over the U.S and to learn how to be a better fitness motivator and leader. I didn’t realize, however; that this conference would also bring a lot of reflections about what I have learned from the past 21 years– life after you.

Here are some of those reflections:

-I have learned that everyone experiences pain at some point in their life. Pain from a loss, maybe it’s mental health, or some sort of trauma in their life (the spectrum is so big on what causes pain but we all go through it). We get tested. We get pushed to our limits. We may never know how we will climb out of the dark hole. But eventually I did. I spent years being in that dark place, and I hadn’t even realized it- gaining 40 pounds, spending money I didn’t have, not focusing on my health or my own happiness or what made ME happy. I was showing up, going through the motions, but felt sadness and numbness. Who was I? What did I want? What was I doing to myself? I finally asked myself these things about 7-8 years after I lost you. It was then that I made an effort to move forward- coming out of my shell, learning who I was, what I wanted and focusing more on ME.

I have spent the past 21 years being stronger, better, happier and not looking back to those darker years. I have figured out what makes me happy and am not afraid to go after that. I surround myself with only people who lift me up, and have let go of any unhealthy relationships with ease. I have found my passion and am pursuing it. I am not afraid to dream big, or go after crazy goals no matter what people think or say. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am very independent, to the point where it may also be a fault, LOL, but I know that if anything were to happen I could be OK.

I keep you in my heart, thoughts and mind constantly. I try to channel your same work ethic and drive. I try my best to be a wonderful Mom and wife. I realize that family memories are so precious and will work hard to help make more family memories via travel and adventures near and far. You also worked very hard to provide my education for the years you were here and I too will work hard to do the same for my boys. You were a lover of life, and people. When there is bad out in the world, I am reminded to always look at the good folks that make up for it. I chose the higher road. I don’t compare, regret, get involved in drama, gossip or sulk– I just do my thing and what makes me happy even if that means pushing the envelop a little bit and getting uncomfortable so I can fight for what I think is right and important to ME.

Thank you for teaching me all of these things. It’s an honor that you were in my life for the 21 years that I had you. I strive to keep your memory alive each day in my boys’ life (they say that’s Nana Judy each time they see a cardinal or butterfly). We know you are here, please keep visiting us!


Your Pina Colada

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Another year….

Each year I make ONE health/fitness goal. I like just ONE as I find I can stick to it. I used to make a list: eat better, lose weight, tone, flexibility but I found that was TOO overwhelming and then I didn’t focus on any one goal with intention.

This year my goal is to be STRONGER than last year. I am looking to continue my healthy lifestyle– but what does stronger actually mean? It means I would like to do a few more push-ups, break my one-mile tempo run record, be stronger emotionally, be stronger in my business, be a stronger leader, be a stronger Mom and wife.

Strength can come in so many ways, shapes and forms. So it may not mean I want bigger muscles- it just means stronger than the year past! I am going to continue to work on me, continue to inspire others to work on THEM regardless of where they are at and gracefully age.

Age is just a number. I do not feel 42 (although I do go to bed at 10:30 and wake-up at 5:45- LOL) but to me, you can make changes as you age. It’s a priority to me, it’s important to me– so I WILL make it happen. Years ago I would have said, “I have tried everything and I don’t know how to get there”. Now I know what it takes, if something isn’t quite working I adjust and experiment until it does. Then I move on to the next focus.

I am always a work in progress. There’s never perfection, just trying to be stronger than last year!



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Always Believe


Since we just had Father’s Day I was inspired to write a blog post about my dear Dad. You have heard me share a bit about my late mother, and all of the things she had taught me in our 21 years together and continues to teach me as an angel up above.

But this guy deserves a lot of credit too! He has been my #1 fan since the day I was born, and has supported me for 41 years. From him, I have learned:

*Always believe

-This motto started during Christmas time. He always asked if we believed in Santa, and if we didn’t then we wouldn’t receive. I am a FIRM believer in Santa to this day. This motto has carried forward into my health journey, and building my own business. If you don’t believe, it won’t happen. Never doubt. Don’t hold yourself back. It all starts with belief!

*You do your best; they will do the rest

-This is from our softball days together when my Dad coached. He would always tell me to do my best and the team would do the rest. It rings true today still. You can do your part and try your hardest and then the rest is up to others and is out of your control.

*Be nice to people, make friends- you never know when your paths will cross again or when you will need someone to lean on.

-My Dad is a jolly guy, one who makes friends easily and can talk to anyone. He has a contagious laugh and smile. He is easy to be around and is funny. People are naturally attracted to his sense of humor. He has taught me that no matter what, be nice to people and make a lot of friends and not to burn bridges. I told him he was the reason I was a bridesmaid 10 times, LOL. He was right though- you never know when you will need your friends, so it’s great to build relationships that are life-long and also not be afraid to meet new people. People make life interesting and fun. You never know where the conversation will go, or if you will run into them again!

Hats off to all the Dad’s out there who are excellent role models for us ladies. Sometimes Moms get a lot of the credit, and today I give my thanks to this guy who has taught me so much about life and perspective!



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All About The Weights…

I have been on a mission to find what works for me in my fitness routine. I am a cardio junkie- if it gets my heart-rate up high I love it. If I can do short intervals with speed, I love it. If I can go for a slow and steady run, or a short and quick one I love it. You get the point.

Now weights are something I have struggled with over the years- not knowing WHAT to do exactly (how many times a week, how heavy, how many reps if I go heavy or how many reps if I go light). Yes, I have a Personal Training background and I know what I would tell other people, but we don’t always take our own advice. 🙂

I like to NOT have to come up with my own workout routine since I put together other people’s for a living. I want to space out, just follow along and have someone tell and show me what to do in my own-home so I can save time. I workout early in the morning as soon as I wake-up, so my unfinished basement is my morning workout space!

I am on my eight week of a strength program where I lift HEAVY three times a week. It works great because I teach two cycle classes, a HIIT and take a run so I get enough cardio in the week. This program has challenged me to go SLOW. To only do 10-12 reps with heavy weights, and to not have to do the same moves over and over as each day they are so different.

And I am in love.  I have noticed a huge difference in my upper body strength. I was a lady that has not had muscles showing in her arms, and now I can see/feel them. I do have to say that weight lifting has helped me walk taller, have a bit more confidence and feel stronger inside too. So, ladies– get a lifting for these reasons too:

1. Burn more fat.

Did you know that your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after a weight session? (unlike cardio where you stop burning right after the workout.)

2. Change your body shape.

You may think your genes determine the way you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”  And no, you won’t bulk up—women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do.  If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

3. Boost your metabolism.

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. Get stronger and more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.


5. Build strong bones. It’s been well documented women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass as well as prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.
Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they grow older.

6. Fight depression. You probably know cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga, can help alleviate depression, Well weight lifting has exactly the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.  Many women find regular weight training, in conjunction with psychological treatment if the situation is not great, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

7. Improve sports fitness. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing…whatever sport you enjoy.

8. Reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis.

9. Get heart healthy. In the USA More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure.

10. Defend against diabetes. Research has shown in addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve the way your body processes sugar by as much as 23 percent. Plus the more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood. Diabetes is in my family history so you better believe I am going to do everything I can to help prevent it!
IMG_6657 I see muscles in this area for the FIRST time ever at 41! And no, I won’t get huge and bulky!

It’s never too late to start. You can make changes! If you don’t know where to start, let me know and I can help point you in the right direction!


Where it all began…

wedding back

I am no marriage expert by any means, but I learn a lot by making mistakes and from hearing and seeing others marriage experience around me.

It has been nine years that I have been married. Today in fact marks the ninth anniversary of my wedding day. In these nine years I have learned:

-We are ALWAYS the foundation of our family

-Kids come second

-Always make date nights or time together, even with hectic schedules

-If you aren’t on the same parenting page for some things, you need to back eachother up regardless

-Never leave or go to bed mad

-Laugh often

-COMMUNICATE– nobody can read your mind, not even your life partner

-Have romantic nights, life is too short

-Have friends you can both enjoy

-Remember WHY you fell in love in the first place, keep that spark alive

-Don’t hold a grudge

-Ask for help when you need it

Seems simple right? It’s not. Sharing a life with someone can be tricky at times. However, with work and keeping you as a couple a priority it can be an amazing gift! I am sure I have changed a ton in the nine years of marriage, and I try to be as open as I can be on who I am, what I want, where I want to go so my husband knows how to support me. When I need help, I ask. I don’t expect that he will know when I want him to help with the dishes or the laundry. If I am swamped and stressed, I ask for help! It’s a team effort. You both have gifts and things you aren’t great at. It may be frustrating at times, but you are a TEAM and there is no “I” in team.


Mom Perspective

Many a times, I have given the wrong grapes – one boy likes green and one likes red.

I have put the wrong sandwich in their lunches- one can’t have peanut butter at school and one can.

I have had to hold a kiddo down to put eye drops in their eyes and have been kicked and punched.

I had to perform toe surgery (kinda) and have my child scream bloody murder at me.

I have been told that the dinner I made is gross.

I have heard, “That’s not fair” more times than I can count.

I put things in the wrong place (Or I put them away so they can’t be found laying out on the floor- ha)! I don’t let them eat candy and ice cream every single time they ask. I say NO a lot! I make them eat their supper before they are excused. I ask them to do their homework or to get to bed on-time on school nights. I make them do chores or clean up after themselves. I make them take baths.

BUT what I do often goes unseen. I am their scheduler and organizer of activities and school. I get them to all their appointments. I make them three meals a day, do their laundry, get their groceries. I put their favorite snacks in their lunches and may even write a surprise note. I tell them I love them. I am their safe place. I talk with them when they are upset. I pray for their safety and health every night. I try to be a role model on how I treat others. I make them laugh. I compliment them and work on building confidence. I take them on fun adventures as that’s important to me– making memories and having time away from distractions. Quality family time!

Being MOM does not come with daily rewards, but they are there. I can let the little things that I don’t do right get me down. Or I can choose the mentality of “I’m a good Mom; I do my best.” I am a different kind of Mom, not one that overly snuggles or cries when she leaves them. I don’t play for hours. I may play for a bit and then move onto my own tasks. I don’t shed tears when I have to sell their baby cribs or give away their baby clothes. I am the Mom that’s excited for the next journey because it means growing into the next stage of FUN and learning. I may not be like others, but I am ME!

I am a good Mom. I try my hardest. I prefer to balance a lot of things at once- an at-home business as a health coach, a fitness instructor at two places, a landlord, CEO of our household and the list goes on. Mom is one title. I can only do so much. I am spread thin but Mom is at the top of my list for priorities. I have always wanted to be a Mom. I grew up with the most amazing Mom, who I lost when I was 21. It is my turn to pay it back and raise two boys to be independent, loving, caring, respectful and hard working.

I may not do it right a lot of times, but I am good. I am enough.

Never doubt that for a minute other Moms/Dads reading this. We put way too much pressure on ourselves or take things personally. We are doing the best we can, and if we personally in our hearts feel like we aren’t we just re-evaluate and make some tweaks! Parenting doesn’t come with a hand-book. We learn as we go. We need to appreciate who we are and just try our best in this crazy world of raising kids.



Taking a LEAP!

Today I got to thinking about WHY I started a fitness journey over 13 years ago and how it all started by taking a leap.

Flashback to when I was 28 years old….

It was a good year. I ran my first marathon and had just bought my own townhome– two major life milestones all in the same month. I had a corporate job; one that gave me a social life and the comfort of stability over the years. I had a lot of friends, and a lot of fun. However, there was one thing wrong— thirty plus pounds crept on over the years of mourning the loss of my Mom to cancer. My Mom was taken from me when I was 21. I watched her slowly slip away over a four-year timeframe. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer my senior year of high school and she lost her battle the August I was about to enter my senior year of college. When my high school friends were looking for colleges, I was learning that my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. When my college roomates were going home in the summer to be waitresses and enjoy time off, I was helping to care for my sick Mom as she threw up all-day and was hooked up to an IV.

Life was not fair or normal at the age of 21! But looking back now, life is not going to be fair!

It was my Mom’s final wish to watch my graduate from college. She didn’t make it to that milestone, but I powered through that last year as a way to honor her. After college, I took up running as a healthy outlet to de-stress and have something for me, probably a coping mechanism, and a good one it was. Running was a way to numb the pain I was feeling in my heart; it was an escape. I could escape reality and just feel the burn of my legs and heart. Yes there are many unhealthier habits I could have taken up (some of those I did like drinking and wracking up credit card debt). So yes, running was a healthy outlet but it was also a way to use the excuse, “I can eat whatever I want.”

Thirty-plus pounds crept on over the course of the years, and at the age of 28 I saw a picture of myself and decided I needed to CHANGE. I was not comfortable in my own skin anymore. I had bought the biggest size of clothing I had ever bought before. I felt the need to finally take action and take care of ME! It was time to CHANGE and fight for me!

I began to learn more about food and how it was causing me to gain weight, even with all the running. I watched my portions and learned to cook healthier. I joined a gym, my local YMCA, where I could be around other people for motivation and support of like- minded people.  Being on a health journey can be isolating, and you need your “people” to keep you strong and help you to say no to habits that were of the past.

I lost 30 pounds in about 9 months and felt amazing. I was a knew “me” as I turned 30 that year. I felt confident in me because I took the time to work on me. I felt more like I knew WHO I was and what I wanted out of life. It was that same year that I met my husband and was open to love for the first time in a long time too.

I began to teach fitness classes as a way to pay it forward and help others on their journey. I wanted to be a part of someone else’s support system. I kept my corporate job and taught a few classes a week, and felt pulled towards a career where I could do what I loved and help people.

Fast forward, after our first baby I decided to stay-at-home and figure out what I wanted to do next. The corporate life wasn’t quite me anymore. I desired something that I was passionate about, where I could leave feeling fulfilled and surrounded by people who are like me. I kept teaching classes while raising two little boys as a way to stay connected to fitness folks, help others, and work on ME while in the “Mom” trenches.

As my boys get older, I add more. Fitness fuels me. Helping people gets me out of bed each day. I became a Beachbody coach because it felt like the next logical step for me. I could help EVEN more people. I could do whatever I wanted to with it. I could schedule my own hours, and work around my family. I could learn more about fitness and nutrition, and be a better version of myself. I could meet MORE like-minded ladies who are uplifting and working on themselves too. I could have something for “me” besides being a Mom, wife, CEO of the household. I could earn trips and finally add income to the family after a few years of putting that aside.

I know what it’s like to be STUCK. Stuck in a fitness rut. Stuck in a job I wasn’t truly passionate about. Stuck as a stay-at-home Mom that felt a bit disconnected to other like-minded women.

I finally feel fulfilled. I have found what motivates me. I wake up with a purpose each day. If it’s a day where I don’t feel like showing up, I know there’s a team of ladies who are doing the same thing and it pushes me to JUST DO. If I hit a bump in my fitness or health journey, there’s always someone to pick me back up.

TAKE A LEAP! Sometimes life gives you bumps to be able to turn down another road. Listen to your signs. Don’t be afraid. It’s never too late to figure out what you want to be or do. I have dabbled in writing in the past, and now I can bring it back to my world now. This is my first official blog post as a health coach and motivator!

Thanks for listening and I’ll be back for more.