Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smiling in a Supermarket?...

Do you smile when you go grocery shopping?

Usually, I don't.   I mean, I'm not scowling or anything but having to go to the supermarket isn't high on my list of fun things to do.  Why you ask?  Well, because of my food allergies, I have to read every last  ingredient on every single package, beverage and bottle.  OK, minus the the vegetable section but it always surprises me how I can find what appears to be a great product until I see added soy (protein, powder, oil ), a ton of sugar or anything with gluten in it.  Which, for those who don't know, are wheat, rye and barley...oats are still out on debate.

And although I'm finding more and more items gluten and soy free AND that actually taste delicious, I still have a hard time smiling the whole time I'm there.   Because, really, who wants to have to stand in a supermarket aisle with a box in her hand, eye glasses on, reading every last  ingredient when I could be outside riding my bike (paddle boarding, hooping, running, etc.) in the sunshine.


So when I see something that would enhance a new dish I'm making or the recipe specifically calls for it and I see those two wonderful words, "gluten free" well my heart goes all aflutter. Yes, it does and that's when I smile a big 'ole wide smile.  I've also been know to actually say aloud, "THANK YOU!" to no one in particular.

What are some of the things that can get you to smile in a supermarket or give a sigh of relief?  C'mon, I know you're out there too...

Smile, you'll feel better!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Always Keep Your Muscles Guessing

On Workout Wednesdays I try to give an easy and fun way to burn some calories and hopefully challenge your muscles.  Because, as you know, building muscles and maintaining your muscle mass is AWESOME at burning calories.  Even at rest.  Yes, it's true.

 So in a word: lunges.

No weights

Walking lunges to be exact.  You don't need any equipment in the beginning.  Just lunge walking your own body weight is enough.  After 3 weeks of consistent lunging, grab some 5 pound dumbbells.  You'll be amazed at how some light dumbbells can make all the difference.
Start with 5 lbs dumbbells

Muscles need to be challenged if you want them to continue to improve.  When it's time to change it up again you can add two more pounds or you can change the way you're lunging. Both a change in weight or the way in which you are doing your exercise can be all the change you need.  How, you ask?  Well, try a lunge coming into a parallel stance, do a regular squat, then continue lunging with the opposite leg, come to a parallel stance and squat again.  Continue like this for 2 to 3 sets.  Simple!

Always go back to the basics when adding a change to your workout.  Do the lunge-squat-lunge
exercise without weights initially, then progress to weights after a few weeks.

As soon as your exercise becomes easy, remember to change it up and you'll continue to make those improvements you want in your exercise program and your body.  Plus it's a good way to avoid that boredom factor.

Let me know how you're doing and if you made any changes to your workout program.  Would love to hear it!

Change it up, you'll feel better!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Team Hoyt: A Reason To Run

It's great to have a reason to run.  Many people start to help them lose weight or maintain their goal weight.  Others for the sheer pleasure of it.  And still others for the mental break it offers from our over-stuffed and busy lives.  Check out why I run, here.

So you if you don't have a reason, maybe this will help:

Team Hoyt.  My inspiration:

Have a great weekend and lovely Easter.

Get inspired, you'll feel better!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"It's Only One Dish, Not the End of the World!"

My mom is an amazing cook.  She's always clipping recipes she finds interesting or telling me a new way of cooking as she's watching the Cooking Channel.  She has a bunch of cookbooks, as do I, and we both read them cover to cover as if they are wonderful novels instead of just 'cookbooks' to learn from.  We've both been known to buy a cookbook just for it's beautifully photographed food pictures.

My mom likes to start a recipe and in the end she just owns it with her natural cooking flair.  Meaning, my mother is also a good improviser.  She just knows which herbs and spices will blend perfectly with whatever she's cooking.  It's truly a gift.  She really doesn't measure, she just,  'eyeballs' it.  And that's how I learned to cook.  I'll follow a recipe to a "T" at first but inevitably I'll make it my own.  A little more of this, less of that, whatever.

So let's have fun and experiment.  Go'll be fine, I promise. Because if it doesn't work out just remember what my mom always says, "It's only one dish, not the end of the world". So have courage!

If you're new to this whole 'eyeballing' thing, let's start small.  Why not the easy tuna salad.  Throw caution to the wind and let's begin:

Tuna Salad Base

2 cans of your favorite tuna fish (or salmon)
2+ T. of homemade mayonnaise (click for easy recipe)

So that's the base, the next part is up to you!  See how much fun you can have by experimenting and adding in ingredients that will make this dish sing!  I'll give you my personal recipe of tuna salad to get your taste buds going and to give you a kick start.  I add:

2 T. of dried cranberries
1 T. of slivered almonds
2 tsp. of curry powder
1 T. of chopped cilantro
1 T. of sliced olives (I use Kalamata or small green pimento stuffed olives)
salt and pepper

...I think that's it.  I don't measure anything, I 'eyeball' it or taste as I go.  So if you want to make my style of tuna fish, try it as is but by all means improvise on the next go round.

You could try:
parsley or dill
chopped pecans
chopped red bell pepper
green onions (I like to add this when I have it)
etc., etc, etc!

and when I assemble my sandwich I sometimes use thin cucumber slices instead of lettuce, just for kicks!  The possibilities are endless.

What I ultimately try and do is add as much color, texture and nutrients as I can to each and every dish I make.  I call it 'Love'.  Just like my mom.  When we cook for you, that's our way of showing our love.  We definitely put a whole lotta love in there!

Used a dab of avocado for some extra fun.
The lighting in this picture turned the tuna salad a pretty shade of lavender,
but it wasn't and yours won't either ;-)

Please share in the comments below if you tried my recipe and how you liked it and/or if you made it your own and what ingredients you used.  I would love to hear from you!

Make it your own, you'll feel better!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Protein Stylin'...My Way

I've been Gluten free for about six years now.  In the beginning it was difficult to give up all that lovely french bread, brownies, pasta, etc.  But over time I've adjusted, found some yummy alternative foods and have literally 'lost the taste' for most things gluten.  Feeling healthy and energized trumps anything filled with gluten that makes me sick.  Also, knowing that eating gluten affects my immune system is a definite deterrent to succumbing to even a little bite.

The American diet is so 'fast carbohydrate' dominant that hardly a meal or snack goes by without it.  And when I write 'fast carbohydrate', I'm referring to all the bread, crackers, cereal, pretzels and such, we consume at every meal.  Why our society is so use to this is maybe bread products are an easy grab and go meal/snack.  Think about it. When you're picking up your latte, look at the items behind the counter or next to the register.  Bagels, oatmeal, brownies, cookies, croissants, donuts and, well, you get the picture. Yes, I know, there are some that serve egg and cheese wraps/muffins.  But try getting that without the bread...a mess. That's why I usually make most of my meals at home.  Saves me money but boy, it's so darn inconvenient sometimes.

Yes, thank goodness 'protein style' (wrapped in lettuce) is no longer a confusing request and many, if not all restaurants, can modify their food that way.  However, the thought of yet another meal 'protein style' can get to be a bit boring.  I've learned that being creative it the key to not only eating well but keeping your sanity when on a restricted diet.

As I was grocery shopping the other day, I came across one of my favorite vegetables...the colorful bell pepper.  I'm not that much of a fan of the green variety but give me his colorful sisters and I'm in!  To me they are sweeter and lighter.

And as I was picking up a couple it suddenly occurred to me that I could use these lovelies as the transport system for my homemade tuna salad.  No gluten just nice and crunchy and the perfect size.  So I sliced one up leaving the slices big enough to hold a well portioned bite and voila, the perfect food transport!

So if you're needing to cut back on fast carbohydrates or need to go gluten free, here's an alternative idea for 'protein style'.  Easy, delicious and satisfying.

Try a different veggie, you'll feel better!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Real Mayonnaise? Yes please!... either love it or hate it.

If you like it, you want a lot of it. Like in your chicken or tuna salad. But mayonnaise can be a bit calorie dense. For a 1 tablespoon serving it's calculated anywhere from 100 calories to 10 Cal (fat free, ick). Now although it may seem you'll be putting in a lot more mayo than 1 tablespoon in your chicken salad, when you actually make it, you'll realize that a little can go a long way. And when you're making food for yourself you're using measuring spoons and cups so you know exactly how much you're eating, right? Right!

But I digress...

I never did like mayo as a child. I'd refuse to eat anything that had that horrible sauce in it. But eventually I began to discover how it's subtle tanginess increased the flavor of certain dishes. But I was very selective, only on certain breads and with certain meat.

Then when I found out I was intolerant to soy (and gluten) I realized that, much to my dismay, most mayonnaise is made with soybean oil. Even the ones labeled "made with Olive Oil" are made with soybean oil. So, although I never really ate a lot of mayo, another food item was suddenly out of my diet.

Here's the good part...

While watching the movie "Julie and Julia" and saw "Julia Child" wax poetic about her mayonnaise recipe, I realized I could take back this 'off limit' food and just make it myself! Yea! But doesn't the sound of making mayonnaise seem a bit daunting? It did me. So I'd substituted hummus for mayo. (Delish by the way!) Nutritious, creamy and yummy.

But sometimes you just want that lovely tangy taste of mayonnaise. So I read many recipes and hit the Internet and you know what? It's made with eggs and oil, some mustard and not much else. Sounds simple enough. Well, I'm here to tell IS simple! And it only took me two tries to get it right.

The first recipe had me using one whole egg and dry mustard. Since I only had extra virgin olive oil that's what I used. Although I love the flavor of  extra virgin olive oil, it completely over-powered the flavor while the dry mustard gave it a bitter taste. Not so good. So I hit my next favorite Internet site, YouTube, and found one by chef Gordon Ramsay and voila! Success! What I had on my hands was an honest-to-goodness, light, creamy, tangy, wonderfully homemade mayonnaise. AND I know exactly what went in it, just pure organic ingredients without any preservatives or fillers. Best of all,  NO SOY!

I made mine in my Vitamix mixer but next time I'll use my food processor as I suspect it would be easier to get every last bit of it.  As an added plus (as in most things) I enjoyed the satisfaction of making it myself.  And you will too.

Honest-to-Goodness Homemade Real Mayonnaise Recipe:

Put these two ingredients in your blender or processor:
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

turn on your mixer or food process to medium and start adding the oil:

approximately 1 1/4 c. of light olive oil, canola oil, or a combo of the two.

I'm not a big fan of many oils (other then olive or coconut but I'll save that for another post) but you choose. Remember, it's homemade so you want the best healthiest ingredients you can buy.

One caveat: You MUST pour the oil very slowly. And when I mean slowly, I mean painfully slowly or else you'll 'spilt' the emulsion and it will separate.

Start by one drop at a time and when those drops start becoming a thin stream, keep it like that until all the oil is incorporated. Chef Ramsey says after the first 1/2 cup you can just pour the rest in but I like to err on the save side.

You'll hear the machine sound differently when it begins to emulsify. When all the oil is added, stop the machine and add:

1/2 squeezed fresh lemon juice

give it another whirl around to completely mix the rest of the ingredients and that's it! You've got yourself some heaven in a jar. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

I'd love to hear if you try this recipe and how you liked it.

Make yourself some homemade mayonnaise, you'll feel better!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is Pain All in My Head?...

Since I'm a personal trainer, friends, family, clients and acquaintances alike all tell me about their aches and pains.  Some have had the same pain, it seems to them, since forever.  Many of my clients come to me because of their pain with hopes of diminishing the intensity through strength training or a stretching program.

I've often found that muscular or joint pain does not originate at the site of complaint. Surprisingly, many aches are actual referral pain coming from a completely and far removed location on the body.  This referred pain, in many cases, can be caused my some sneaky little thing called Myofascial Trigger Points located within the muscle fibers.

I am currently studying this area of pain relief and how to decrease, deactivate and eventually eliminate these little but HUGELY annoying and painful points (think of Carpal Tunnel, Shoulder pain, headaches, etc.)

But first, let's see what pain is in this cute video that explains the difference between acute and chronic pain.  This will not go into Myofascial Trigger Points or it's manual therapy but a great first step in learning about pain in general and possible ideas on how to get on the road to relief.  Please understand that when it says "Pain is produce 100% of the time from the brain" it is NOT, I repeat, it is not saying pain is "all in your head" as in only psychological.

I promise, it'll be fun...go ahead and press the play button below:

Now wasn't that interesting?  Stay tuned as I go over what Myofascial Trigger Points are and it's therapy, later.

Finding the true source of your pain is tricky, but you'll feel better!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

'Hard Tail Forever' Sportswear Review...

I use to buy suits for work, now I get to wear workout clothes as my work uniform.  And I love it! It enables me to try many different styles and brands to fit what sport or activity I'm teaching or doing myself (i.e. gym, hooping, running, paddle boarding, yoga, etc.). 

I decided I wanted some workout gear with a little fashion flair thrown in. I choose Hard Tail Forever  based on my client's recommendation.  She absolutely loves to workout in their clothes plus doesn't mind having to stop off at the grocery store after a training session as their clothes are both funky AND comfy.

I love the tank with the tie-died look.  They added some distress detailing which I also pair, on occasion, with some jeans in the summertime and it looks great.  It's long enough for my long waist but not so long that it looks like a tunic.  Hard Tail Forever is actually know for their 'dyeing process.' In fact, "The deep rich and fruity colors that [sic] created are no accident, but rather a complicated, intricate process that remains a 'family secret'

The roll down boot leg pants are so amazingly comfortable and has a luxurious feel to it.  I also appreciate the wide waist band (covers all sorts of sins) with the pattern detailing.  Their boot leg pants are on the longish side so if you are petite you definitely will need them hemmed.  I'm 5'6" and they are almost too long for me.   Or you could just go for their pull on capris or perhaps some booty shorts.

I've been wearing the tank and pants for about 6 months and it washes and wears extremely well.  Colors are still well saturated, very minimal shrinkage and still looks like new.

So if you want some fun, comfortable and stylist workout clothes that hold up to your workouts OR you just want to wear their oh-so-lovely daily wear, I recommend trying Hard Tail Forever Sportswear. 

I would love to know what you like or prefer in workout gear. Drop me a line!

xoxo, Sharon

Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking Care of My Heart...

It's been awhile, yes, I know.  I usually have so much swirling in my little head and want to share it with all of you but...well...lately, it's just been focused on one thing.  My dad.

Since this is a fitness blog I didn't really feel like it was a place to throw it out there.  To say we got some 'not-so-good-news' and write about it, I frankly didn't think is was appropriate and plain didn't want to.  The words wouldn't come anyway.  I'm still working, taking care of my husband and our sweet furry family, but it's a bit more laborious these days.  But the time has come for me to come out of my little warm cocoon I've made for myself, at least to peek out a bit, and start again.  Start what?  Just...start, to begin again.  Start anything I use to do before the latest news.  Start a post,  reorganizing, hooping, running, creating, reading, relaxing, laughing.  All the things I use to do without thinking about it.

Am I sounding a bit like I'm whining here?  For goodness sakes, I really dislike whiners. But, I'm not going to apologize.  I needed to just 'be' for awhile.  I've realized that there are times in your life that you  need to take care of your heart.  To just feel all the emotions and revisit memories and begin thinking about the things that will happen in the near future and how I can be the support I'll need to be for my mom.  How to go about it with love and gentleness.  All of this was so much that I just stopped certain things that started to feel like excess noise.  So:  No posting, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter and minimal emailing (reading or sending).  I only attended to the loves of my life, friends and my clients.

And no, you needn't tell me that a yoga class or a jog or exercise of some sort would do me're preaching to the choir here.  But there was a time which I did all that to the extreme (long ago) and got myself sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  So I know the benefits of exercise but I'm also keenly aware of over exercising and not listening to my body.  Too much stress+too much exercise+little sleep=disaster.  So this time I knew a little 'down' time, that included some gentle exercise, was the prescription I needed. it is..

My dad's cancer (colon cancer) has spread.  It's been two years since his diagnosis, his surgery to remove two tumors (add open heart surgery for a double bypass mixed in the middle of all that), chemo pills and such.  But, it started growing and now,  spreading.  His doctor gave him two options:  Start with conventional chemotherapy or start hospice care.

My dad choose hospice.

Here's me and my dad at my niece's wedding just before "the news".  He can still 'cut a rug' like nobody's business.  Photos by Andrea Lucero of

Always a gentleman.

He's a tough old Marine who raised a tough daughter but we're both soft on the inside, that I know for sure.  And although we can overcome many things, one thing he taught me was there are times you just have to turn around and look at your problems straight in the eyes and deal with it.  And if what you see isn't the best, well then, make it the best you can, damn it!  And that's an order!

And that's what he's doing.  So that's what I'll do too.

So, there you have it.  Not all of it but enough of it.  I know it's not a 'fitness' post but it's my post.  And on this New Year's Eve I'm remembering all the things he's taught me...and still teaching me.

Thanks Pops,

xoxo, Sharon

P.S. These beautiful pictures were taken by the very talented and lovely Andrea Lucero of  Thru Andi's lens.  If you need a photographer who can capture once in a lifetime shots, be it a wedding, portrait, musical band or business event, please don't hesitate to contact her.  She's amazing!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn, A Season to...Bloom?

Ahhhh, cooler weather.  I'm beginning to really relish this subtle chill in the air.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy those long warm summer days but when we have record high temps for a month straight, well, I'm ready for some crisp fall weather.  Plus, who doesn't enjoy the Fall season?  I believe it starts at slightly different times for each one of us.  For me, Autumn begins the first time I realize I went to bed early with a good book or when I'm excited to put on a sweater.  For some reason those simple actions make me feel all cozy inside.  I suddenly want to read more, knit more, cook more and run more.  Yes, run more.

You see, I basically melt when I run in warm/hot weather so I pretty much give it up for the entire summer.  I replace it with other activities like riding my bike, swimming and the like.   And now that the mornings have become chilly, it reminds me of those early morning practice runs I use to do and the frenzied ritual I would do before heading out:  dressing in the dark, smashing my toe on my bed post, gathering my hydration system, trying to find where I dropped my running shoes, making sure I have my iPod AND earphones, eating (I always eat something small before a run) and heading out the door to meet up with a running group or just by myself.  All the while thinking,

"WHY am I doing this?" 

Fresh running shoes

I know you thought I was going to say something different here, but no, most of the time I'm looking forward to when it's over.  Every run isn't this over-the-top 'runner's high' people talk about, in fact that rarely happens for me.   So, yes, I'm human when it comes to exercise. But there are times when I slip into this mode, if you will, and everything just... works.

What I mean by that is I slip into a stride that's automatic.  I'm simply just running.  I'm not worried about how fast I'm going or how far.  Not worried about how I look or should look.  I can 'see' those things that have been a burden or worry for me lately and 'see' solutions for many of them, allow myself grace if I don't for others and allow those burdens to which I can't do anything about to simply pass by and loosen their grip on me.

When the season is getting ready to go into hibernation, I'm getting ready to bloom.  Shaking off old patterns, worries, stress, set backs and such and letting the chilly air and road under my feet guide me toward a fresh start.  Those are the times I realize why I run.

Now go run, you'll feel better!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If You're Going to Eat, Then Eat!

I was searching on NetFlix for documentaries or biographies so I could have something playing in the background while I was taping some hoops.  I came across this one, "How to Cook Your Life" and who could resist with a title like that?  Something pertaining to food, yeah, that's the one.

I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised at how much I really enjoyed it and how I completely forgot I was suppose to be taping hoops.  When philosophy can be woven together with cooking well, I'm all in.

Basically, it's about a man who was curious about how to make bread, found himself at a Zen retreat, became a Zen teacher and master chef and his life between and within the two.  I don't want to give too much away, as it's definitely something worth seeing, but one major thing he said has impacted me almost everyday..."If you want to cook, cook...if you want to stir the soup, stir the soup" and so on.  Yes, that does sound logical but do we do that?  Meaning, when we sit down to eat or listen to a friend or any other thing we 'do', do we really just do that one thing?  Aren't we more inclined to do as many things as possible during every activity we do?  Here's what I mean:

A few weeks ago I went to lunch alone at my favorite Sushi restaurant.  After I ordered, I began pulling out all sorts of 'busy' work that I usually have on-hand at all times.  Phone, iPad, notebook, pens, highlighters, checkbook, bills, journal, etc.  Just in case I run out of things to do I have multiple back up 'things-to-do'.  When my delicious plate of sushi was set before me, I began to eat with one hand while returning emails with the other.  I suddenly remembered that wonderful phase, "If you're going to do something, then so that one thing!"  I realized I was eating but I wasn't really savoring my food, I wasn't really...eating.  So I shut off my phone, powered down my iPad and put everything else away.  Just my water glass and sushi remained on the table.

And it was divine.

I noticed how every bite became increasingly flavorful and sweeter.  Yes, sweeter. Since rice will start to break down in the mouth, the more you chew the sweeter the taste.  Oh yum! Instead of plowing through my food, I slowed down to take in the color, texture, temperature and changing flavors of my food.  Sound a bit obvious?  Could be.  Did I feel satisfied and content without feeling 'stuffed'? You bet!  And that wonderful orange they serve you after a sushi meal was even more orange-y, juicier, sweeter with such a light heavenly scent.

So please, put away everything, shut off the TV, no reading materials, no harsh conversations and no work.  Because if you're going to eat,
...then eat,

and enjoy this one simple act.

Do one thing at a time, you'll feel better!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dream a little...for 271 Calories!

Sometimes I just don't feel like eggs.

I don't have a problem with them, in fact I love them! They're easy, tasty, and quick.  Yes, quick.  If you don't believe me take a peek at how long an omelet took me to prepare here.

Some days I just want to pretend I'm on vacation at some wonderful bed & breakfast and a delightfully yummy AND nutritious plate is set before me.  So I dreamt up this recipe (basically tossing together what I had available) loosely based on a simple breakfast I use to eat when I lived in Spain.  Beautiful to the eye, quick and oh-so-yummy!

Here's the simple nutritious recipe that will have you dreaming of your next vacation, enjoy!:

  • Slice two medium strawberries into a beautiful bowl and add
  • 2 Tbs. raw slivered almonds
  • 3 Tbs. Hemp Hearts
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk (or milk/non-dairy of your choice) or more to your liking
and that's it.  All this loveliness for approximately 271 Calories that include:
  • 10.9 grams Protein
  • 3.4 grams of Sugar
  • 8 grams of Carbs
Gluten free, dairy free and soy free too!

Now go ahead...dream a little, you'll feel better.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Body Hoops and the Beach Babe Cycling Classic...


I had a most excellent day hooping in the sunshine promoting Body Hoops at the Beach Babe Cycling Classic.  It was held at Marine Green Park in downtown Long Beach, California that overlooks 9.4 acres of Shoreline Aquatic Park.

The Beach Babe Cycling Classic supports it's charity partner, HealthCorps, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Oz and his wife, Lisa, to address American's obesity epidemic.  

It's a great way to support a wonderful organization, give back, exercise and grab a tan...all in one afternoon!

BodyHoops was supporting the cause and asked if I could man the table at the event.  Being a licensed BodyHoops instructor I said, "Of course!" I had a blast hooping it up with riders and their families.  How could you not resist all those beautiful, sparkly hoops?  Well, they couldn't!  And since this was an event promoting exercise and well-being, what better way to do that then by hooping?

A few pictures of the fun we had:

My "Roadie" helping me set up.  He's the best husband, EVER!

Look at all those beautiful BodyHoops!
Learning the 'weave'

Wanting to learn so much that she forgot to take her bike helmet off...awesome!

Decisions, decisions...  

Whenever someone started hooping, I couldn't help but smile along with them.  I love it when people start to laugh and just enjoy hooping again... or for the first time!

Check out that beautiful California backdrop


And not to forget my hooping sidekicks!  They were enjoying the day as much as anyone else, just look at that smile on Bailey while Cooper is keeping watch for any renegade squirrels.

Beautiful day, giving back, lots of hooping and spending time with my family...not bad for a Sunday afternoon.

P.S.  Should you want a hoop all your own (and why wouldn't you?) you can go to and purchase a beautiful new hoop.  Use coupon code: Jasmine to receive $5.00 off!

Now go exercise, you'll feel better!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Joy Ridin'...

My dogs love to ride in the car.  Doesn't matter where I go, they just want to ride along.  My car, the hoop mobile, is currently being worked on so I am driving my husbands Honda Civic.  Not enough room in the trunk so I need to haul my hoops around in the back seat.  Now you'd think that would deter my sweet doggies from a ride but...nope!  Cooper is my little dog so he weasels his way to the front seat but Bailey is perfectly content to ride between the hoops.  So cute!

Chillin' in the back seat-Bailey, my official Hoop guard dog!

Cooper riding 'shotgun'

Since they enjoy it so much, I'm on the look out for a pet 'seat belt'.  I'm a safety girl and want my sweet babies to be properly 'buckled in', so if you know of a comfortable and trustworthy pet belt, please let me know!

Does your pet enjoy rides with you?  Would love to hear about it!

Take a joy (but safe) ride with your pet, you'll feel better!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Whidbey Island, A Little Vacation...

I've been a bit remiss in getting some posts written.  Makes me realize that I pack way too much into my life.  But here is a little summery of my visit to Whidbey Island.  "Where the heck is Whidbey Island", you say?  Well it's a little island off the coast of Washington State, so beautiful and untouched.  I have family that lives there so it's a nice way to relax, see some gorgeous scenery and get caught up with the 'fam'.  At the last minute I tried to put together a hooping workshop but in the end my niece and I, who was helping put together the class, decided to forgo the workshop and relax instead.

Beautiful Whidbey Island:

BodyHoops Travel Hoop made it on the plane with me!  They don't call them Travel Hoops for nothing!

Teeny, tiny plane

 Whidbey Island is so green and full of blooming flowers.  Yes, it does rain a lot and even snows a bit in the winter but certainly not as much as the 'mainland' Washington State.  It's hard to beat the stunning ocean views at every turn.

I had to have coffee every day at  Useless Bay Coffee Co.  The best, and I mean the best, tasting, full bodied just perfect cappuccino I've tasted yet.  It was perfect because they had almond AND rice milk.  Since I'm dairy and soy intolerant, it was such a pleasure to find options readily available. And they know how to froth the 'milk' just right so that it is creamy and foamy and thick.  In fact, all of Washington 'gets' the whole idea of alternative milk other than soy.  I even found it available at the Settle airport.  Thank you Washington!

I stayed with my sweet and adorable niece, Kiley, who owns a fantastic hair studio called "Bliss" in Langley.  And bliss it is!  She surprised me with a meticulous cut and color, put some feathers (yes, feathers) in my hair for a little accent and had her wonderful esthetician erase any stress I might of had with the best facial ever!  Thank you sweetie!

OK, Sweet Mona's had the most amazing chocolates you've ever seen or enjoyed!  The truffles were incredible.  Yes, I indulged in the dark sea salted caramel.  Oh, baby, they were heavenly!

Brother and Sister goofing around.  My brother is the funniest guy!

An actual good photo with no goofy faces
My brother, Jeff, gave me a tour of the island with a stop in Coupeville.  We had a great lunch overlooking the harbor and then he actually indulged me with a little shopping.  He bought some trinkets too!

Whale Wheel

Everyone needs to stop and take in the spectacular view from Deception Pass.  Approximately 20,000 cars pass over this bridge daily.  The view is nothing less than stunning.

Jeff making his typical "I'm kinda done with pictures now" face

A must see from below. 

Beautiful vegetation surrounds the area.

So there you have it.  My quick trip to Whibey Island in, is it July already?  Yes, I'm been a bit behind but it's so nice when you finally get 'caught up'.  Now don't hold me to it but I'll try and get focused.  But there are so many things to see and do and's hard to keep me in one place!

Take a trip to Whidbey Island, you'll feel better!