Hi Friends,

This week’s Beauty Detox Blogger Assignment topic is “Inspiration”


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I find inspiration from nature, my family and other fit people like Tara and Kimberly but my life long inspiration has always been my Aunt Marlene. Yes, we have the same name. And no, that’s not why she’s my inspiration:)


If I could use one word to describe her, it would be “Amazing” Not only does she look amazing for her age, she is amazing.

My aunt is a mother of five children. That’s right. Five! Growing up, I saw her raise her children, be a good wife, work full-time, own a home at a young age, run marathons, stay super fit and always succeed at everything she did. I always thought she was perfect.

As a child, I loved going to her house and eating all the good food she had ( I liked to eat a lot back then) I enjoyed going to the park, the beach, shopping and working out with her.

What has inspired me most about my Aunt Marlene is her passion for Fitness. Being a busy mom, she always found the time to get her exercise in even if that meant running during her lunch hour. I wanted to be just like her.

As I child, I used to ask my mom why she named me after my aunt Marlene and she answered because she loved her sister so much and wanted to give her daughter that name. At the time, I still didn’t get it and wondered why I didn’t have my own name. Typical girl 🙂

My aunt has inspired me to do so much. She inspired me to be a good mom, a homeowner by the age of 23 and start by own personal training business by 30. She is always telling me how proud she is of me and how I can accomplish anything but it’s because of the inspiration and positive support she gave me at a young age that motivated me.

I would like to say how proud I am to be named after such a beautiful and inspirational person as my Aunt Marlene.

Thank you for reading.


7 days of Yoga – Day 1

Good Morning Friends,

Today is Day 1 of putting Yoga first.

I have practiced yoga for years at home and at a studio but lately I put it on the back burner. I usually do my weight training or cardio in the morning and do yoga later in the day if I have time but I haven’t been getting it accomplished lately. Needless to say, my hips are tight and I have a nagging tight hamstring that will not ease up so I’m focusing all my energy on yoga this week.

I will put my yoga before my other workouts even if it means I take a few days off. My super tight hamstring is a sign a need more yoga. My body usually lets me know 😀

I enjoy taking classes at my local yoga studio but most of the time I do it at home. It saves me time and $. I have a collection of DVDs and a lot of favorites but my absolute favorite is Tamal Dodge. He’s the only one I always coming back to.Tamal’s instruction is always so clear, calm and easy to follow. I have all three of his DVDs but this one is my favorite. “Intro to Yoga”


There are two programs: Fundamentals and Intermediate. I do “fundamentals” most because I feel it covers everything and provides a balance of challenge and relaxation. My body thanks me after.

I will be back to check in and share my progress over the next 7 days.



Gluten-free pizza


I’m dropping in real quick to share a gluten-free pizza recipe I made this weekend. I have been making this healthier version for a while. My family loves pizza. Who doesn’t?

For the crust, I use a brown rice tortilla. Spread on the pizza sauce, add cheese and toppings. It’s so simple and my family actually likes it 🙂

Although I share mostly vegan recipes here, this one is not but you can always make it vegan with non-dairy cheese like Daiya or make your own. I’ve tried vegan cheeses on pizza but my family refuses to eat it 😦

Here are the ingredient I used:


Here is my family’s version with pepperoni


Here is my vegetarian version with spinach and mushroom.


And here is Rusty begging as I make them


Here’s the super easy recipe:

1. Spread pizza sauce on brown rice tortilla

2. Spread cheese

3. Add whatever toppings you like

4. Bake at 400 degrees 10 minutes





Hey Friends,

Today’s post is part of Kimberly Snyder’s weekly blogger assignment “Gratitude”. This picture is what I’m grateful for. The life that God has given me.

My family is what I’m most grateful for.


We met in 1997 and I was only 18. At such a young age I knew he was the one. We got married when I was 20 and he was 21. We thought we were so mature at the time and when we look back now we realize we were just kids.

We both agree that our first year together was the best; new, exciting and in love! Our daughter was born shortly after we married. Although we didn’t plan it that way we did the best we could.

I am thankful that my husband became a responsible father and did his best to work hard and provide at such a young age. To this day he continues to work hard for his family and has always held a steady job. I am grateful for his willingness to do chores; whether it is ndishes, laundry or helping me in the yard. Even better, he always listens to my latest ideas and gives me his honest input. He is my partner in everything and I am grateful for that.


I never thought I wanted kids until my daughter was born. I never realized I would enjoy being a mom so much. Within a year, I went from being a carefree young adult to a mom who was now responsible for another human being. I was blessed to be able to stay at home with her for her first 7 months. In the beginning I was sleep deprived and didn’t know what I was doing at times but I enjoyed it.

We lived in an apartment when she was born and only had one car. I wanted better for her. She deserved to have a house and a yard to play in as she got older. When she was 8 months old, I made the difficult decision to return to work full-time. Leaving her was one of the hardest things I had to do but I knew there was a purpose. Within 3 years we saved enough to buy a second car and our first house.

Even though becoming a parent young is very hard, I am grateful for the motivation it gave me to do better in life.

My little girl is now a teenager (with an attitude sometimes) but she always makes life interesting. I love that I can ask her opinion on anything, and she will give me an honest answer. Sometimes too honest 🙂


When my son was born 5 years later I felt complete. I never thought I could love another child after my daughter but I was wrong. He made our family complete and was like the missing puzzle piece.

I was a stay at home mom for the first couple years but I knew I needed income since we now had 2 kids and just bought our 2nd house. I tried a lot of work at home businesses but nothing was solid. I knew I loved fitness so I got hired at a gym as a group instructor and later a personal trainer. I enjoyed it but I still still struggled with leaving my kids so when my son was 4, I took a leap of faith, left the gym and started my home based personal training business. I now work part-time from home and get to take my kids to and from school. I love being able to see my son right after school and ask him how his day went.

I am grateful for my son because he motivates me to do better and makes me smile everyday. He is the light of my life.


I am grateful for my family because they have made me the person I am today. I am grateful that we are all healthy and have a home to live in.

Life is never perfect. In fact, this has been a hard year for us. My husband got injured at the beginning of the year and had to have surgery to repair a fully ruptured Achilles tendon. If you’re not familiar with this type of injury, its one of the slowest recoveries. The doctors said it can be a year before he’s fully recovered. This has been hard for him since he’s so active (and my running partner)  He’s able to walk now but no running yet 😦

The reason why I mention this is because I believe we can still find gratitude in the midst of challenging times.

There is so much to be grateful for.

I find peace and gratitude when I am outdoors. At the beach, in my garden or just taking a walk around my neighborhood. Just looking at these pictures gives me gratitude for life.



I didn’t expect to write this much 🙂 Thanks for reading.


Let’s get physical!



Hello there,

Let’s talk about getting physical. And by that, I mean….working out! What else? I love to workout. Well, not always. Sometimes I really have to force myself.

Today, I’m sharing all the different ways I love to stay active. This is part of Kimberly Snyder’s weekly Beauty Detox Blogger Assignment.

I spend most of my time in my home gym or outdoors. I’m an anti-gym person. After years of working in a gym, I grew tired of it and needed a change.

My workouts consist of weight training, running, walking, hiking, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and yoga.



Squats are one of my favorite exercises. Not only do they burn a lot of calories, they keep your butt firm and lifted 🙂


Lunges are another favorite.


Planks are the best. A must for a strong core and back. Today, I tried my new friend Taryn’s boot camp. It was fun. Thankfully, there was lots of shade on this hot So Cal day.



I get my cardio from walking, running, hiking and HIIT (high intensity interval training) I plan on doing a post on HIIT soon. I’m not a fan of steady state cardio. Who wants to spend 45-60 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical? Not me. I like to keep my cardio short and sweet.


I love going on hiking trails. Not just because its great exercise but the mental benefits are amazing. I feel peaceful and calm when I’m out there soaking up the sun and the natural surroundings. That’s pepper spray I’m holding pepper spray in my left hand. Have to watch out for those coyotes and mountain lions. I don’t leave home without it. You never know.


I love getting to the top and enjoying the view.


When I don’t have a lot of time for a run, I take my dog Rusty on a short run around my neighborhood. He’s my short distance running/sprinting partner 🙂


He also joins me in the gym sometimes 🙂


Last but not least, yoga. Yoga is often put 2nd or 3rd to cardio and weight training but I believe it is so important to incorporate often. I admit, I don’t practice yoga everyday but I do make it a priority because I feel so much better when I do. Both physically and mentally.  I believe the more flexible you are, the less risk you have for injury. This week I have challenged myself to practice yoga everyday. I’m loving it.


I do yoga inside my living room, sometimes at a yoga studio or outside. I find doing yoga outside so refreshing. I love the fact that you can do it anywhere.

Aside from physical exercise I enjoy staying active with my backyard garden. Watering, planting, harvesting, etc.


When I heard the title of this assignment, I couldn’t help think of Olivia Newton John’s “Lets get physical”  Now I feel like dancing 🙂  That’s another thing I enjoy. But I’d be too embarrassed to share any photos of me dancing. Haha


These are some of the ways I get physical. Thanks for allowing me to share them with you. What type of exercise or activities do you enjoy?






Birthday highlights and a pasta recipe

Hi Friends,

I hope you are all enjoying your Labor Day weekend. What I love most about holidays is having a day off to do whatever. Sometimes it’s a productive day organizing or cleaning. Some days it’s just rest.  I’m opting for rest this time because Saturday was my son, Dillans 10th birthday party.  We kept it simple (20 people) but it was still a lot of work. We got up at 730 and started cleaning the house and getting the backyard ready. The party started at 4:00 and went until about 7:30.

We are usually a gluten-free and whole food family but today was an exception. I let Dillan choose the junk food he wanted. So we had the following:


As you can see, we splurged on pizza. I felt guilty having all junk food so I offset it with a green salad, lots of fruit and a gluten-free pasta salad. Recipe below. Also on the menu was fried chicken (I didn’t have any) chips and dip, and cake and ice cream (I had some) Continue reading