Wednesday, April 27, 2011

12. Hot Topic

My Dearest Friend Kanwal and one of the most Motivating Brilliant people I know has an Amazing Blog to Check Out!! We have done the workout Insanity together, the BPC Cleanse, and recently the Cinch Life-Style. 

She is my go to girl for Recipes, Tips and Ideas in the Kitchen.  She makes cooking fun, fast and super easy. 

Check her blog out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

11. Thin Line

Dancing is self expression without words.  A release of energy that makes me feel untouchable! Unstoppable!  Music & Dancing is a Universal Language and has become my outlet this year.  I took on running last year but lately Zumba has fulfilled my physical appetite.   I’ve been attending Zumba class twice a week.  My schedule permits an hour to work out three to four times a week.  Therefore, that hour needs to be intense, challenging, fun and calorie efficient.  Two weeks ago, I had the worse substitute in Zumba class.  Boy, was I not only pissed with the waste of a work out but I felt a Spark. Inspiration came knocking at my feet.

Not all shoes are created equal.  Please don’t go to Zumba with your running sneakers. It’s just not cute or beneficial to the dance technique.  I wore my running shoes for the first three classes and I felt Frumpy and slow on my moves.  I’m a HUGE FAN of Asics so I purchased the Asics Corrido.  Super light, very comfortable, roomy for my Wide Feet, and super sleek and sexy.  It made a big difference on my performance level.  It just did!

It’s an epic time in my life and I am playing with the idea of becoming Fairfield’s best Zumba Instructor.  Ok, “ni pa tanto” but I have the desire to teach Zumba.  Bottom line, I want to give someone else that sparkle.  I want to explore my body’s capacity and endurance to learn a new language and be able to translate it to the world.  I had a random girl come up to me at the end of class and said, “You really kept me going today.  You’re amazing and I enjoyed watching you over the substitute teacher”.  My reaction--smile from ear to ear.  You are about to witness my thought process to determine if I should obtain the Zumba certification.  It’s significant to convince both myself and Michael.  Participating in a new hobby or possibly the beginning of a new career would take time and money away from the family and I really have to weigh my decisions.  Teaching this class is not a lucrative job ($15-20p/h); it would be to simply fulfill a desire and to check off another great accomplishment in my lifetime.  Is this all worth the tradeoff? 

“The strongest among the weak is the one who doesn't forget her weaknesses”.  Here goes and notice how I have one of the most contradicting personalities: 1. Improving Self Image is a given.  2. I am sincerely shy but very social.  3. I can make friends easily but I’m not outspoken.  4. I am very opinionated but I never enter a debate, to each his own, has been my attitude.  5.  I work hard but I always do a Half Ass Job.   6. Last but not least, I absolutely cannot manage anyone and cannot tell people what to do.  Not in my nature.  So I am thinking... Zumba will work and reinforce all of my weakness.  I will feel empowered and driven by the energy. Mind, body, soul will be stronger.  Lastly, I will witness how influential I really can become and that lil me can make a Big difference.

Seen by my eyes, taken with my Cam
I’ve convinced myself already but the only one stopping me here is Michael.  WHAT! a non supporting husband?  Not on the same page? not encouraging my dream? He has pointed out that it would relatively take almost four months for me to make up the upfront costs.  I would need to figure out childcare to work part time in addition to my full time job and it would definitely take time away from the family.  I understand him and also recognize he has not pursued many dreams as well in the name of our family.  I will compromise to hold off till the end of summer to re-evaluate where we are at the time.  But once again, this decision will be a thin line between my personal advantage, my passion, self love and my responsibilities as a Mother.  Always a trade-off when you’re a mom.  An internal struggle of your full potential vs. responsibilities aka sacrifices.  For now my balance will be to enjoy Zumba as a student and prepare to be engaged and completely committed to my new calling, one day…..

Saturday, April 23, 2011

10. Savvy Diva

Just a Few of the every day items I shop for and save on every time!!
Summer is almost here!!  Gas Prices are going up and we want to spend more time at the beach rather than on long annoying lines at the store. I am a huge FAN of online shopping.  Especially when I save around 15 to 30% on most household items.  Simple Tip! Amazon Subscribe and Save.

The word SAVE is Fantabulous (my combination of Fantastic and Fabulous).  But I was quickly to dismiss this amazing deal on amazon because the word SUBSCRIBE to me means a long term commitment and Michael has already claimed that aspect in my life.

To my surprise this amazon feature has no obligation other than you feeling happy because you saved a whole lot of money and NO SHIPPING CHARGES!

The Simple Run Down:

1. Select an item eligible for S&S from Amazon.
2. Choose your delivery schedule: One, Two, Three or Six Months
3. Sign Up, Pay for your Item
4. And if for whatever reason you only want to order this product as a ONE TIME DEAL, then simply  cancel the subscription as soon as it ships to you.


Check It: Amazon FAQ

Happy Savings!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

9. Turning Back the Wheel of Time

I recently was asked an Incredible Moment Defining Question.  I had my Best Friends over the house and we were playing a game where each person writes down general questions you want your friends to answer and you toss them in a bowl.  I’ve know my best friends for 14 years and I learned that night that the best part of a friendship just like in any relationship is that no matter how many years go by you can still be surprised in Amazing ways.

My turn, few Mojitos in, my question:  If I can go back in time would I have married my other half and at such a young age? Wow! Take it in, Breathe, Here goes it gets deep.

The question itself couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m facing the biggest contradiction there is right now in my life -- how does a Parent attempt to re-invent themselves? I’m reflecting on all the things I want to do with my time but held back by the choices I made earlier in life.  Let’s throw the word Selfish out the window since becoming a parent is the most selfless act there is in the world.  So I’m thinking of the question and my mind starts to remind me of the opportunities I want to pursue:  a career in fitness/nutrition, travel abroad, learn 5 languages, become a Zumba Instructor, take singing lessons (I’m tone deaf), party in Ibiza, live out at sea, countless cause the show in my mind always goes on…..  One of my weaknesses is my lack of patience.  Technically speaking I can accomplish all these things but I just need to wait a few years.   “Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don't count.” (R.Anthony)   

I met Mike, aka my Soul Mate, at a defining moment in my life, being raised in a single parent home and I was lacking a Male figure in my life.  I was 13 and I fell in love for the first time and last time.  He was my prince charming that came to my rescue and saved me from facing the awkward stage of adolescence and the cruel reality of my life during that time.  I lived and breathed Michael.  My world revolved around US.  Our first Spring Break came around in college and I invited him to travel along with me on a girl’s trip.  Throw up in your mouth yet? Lol Ok, for one I would definitely go back in time and change that part, lol.  We did grow apart for a bit but we always found our way back to each other.  Not to mention all the beautiful things that came from our togetherness. 
On a side note that would be my TOP relationship advice to all couples: always grow together. Be on the Same Beat. 

So I answered my best friends:  “If I had the opportunity to go back in time I wouldn’t have married Michael back then.  GASP!  I would have married him now.  How awesome would it be if I could live a parallel life like in a FRINGE episode?  Turning back the Wheel of Time doesn’t change the fact that Mike and I are meant for each other and hopefully through this outlet I will learn the virtue of patience.  Instead of focusing on the list of things to accomplish back when I was single I need to create new challenges and opportunities that reflect who I am as a person today.  I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister and I will continue to be a whole lot of things.  I will walk along the foot prints of my boys...

Monday, April 18, 2011

8. The Goodies

This blog will be quick, fast and painless but that’s not how you describe a visit to the Dentist.  I get a regular routine every six months, never had a filling in my life.   Just my luck, I move out of town, change my dentist and Tada! I get not one but 4 cavities.   I am traumatized and have found some great alternatives for a fun Easter Egg Hunt without the sweets. 

It was a creative task to figure out small enough egg fillers that were healthy, fun and not a choking hazard.  Happy Easter! Hope these small tips inspire you and help you fill up those eggs with the Goodies.

Fun:  Stickers, Bouncy Balls, Money, Coins, Tattoos, Mini action figures, Lego Pieces, Play Dough, Chalk, Silly Bands, Erasers, Rings, Balloons

Healthy: Cheerios, Trail-Mix, Raisins/Cranberries, Marshmallows, Gold Fish, Popcorn, Vitamin Gummy Bears, Animal Crackers, Pretzels

Speaking of gold fish, pass up on winning them at carnivals!  It will avoid you having to explain to your kid why it died the next day… 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

7. One Happy Island

To Vacation or Not to Vacation in 2011? It's difficult enough to take two kids to the grocery store--Dreadful to think of having to take a vacation from your anticipated Dream vacation after going away with the family.  Traveling without kids is a true luxury I sure don't have. These days Grandparents have a social life on the weekends, What has this world come too? lol.  But I'm writing to let you know that there is such a thing as a Happy Island.  I got to Live and Breathe the Perfect Island exactly a year ago, May 2010, ARUBA.  Perfect Weather from Dusk till Dawn, all American Currency, Safely Drink the tap water and ice, communicate in both Spanish and English and even most importantly party like a true Rock Star in the presence of your kids.  And seriously about the water, Aruba has one of the best water filtration systems in the world thus makes traveling with kids a piece of mind.

I stayed at the not all inclusive Radisson on Palm Beach walking distance to all the bars, restaurants, nightclubs and local markets (stay in the renovated tower in the main lobby).  No need for cabs or rentals and you can multitask by pushing the stroller with one hand and hold your Cold Drink in the other .  Mike and I tipsy'd our way to Moomba Beach a fun open air bar/restaurant overlooking the water, next to the Marriot and rocked out with the kids.  When your on vacation with kids go to restaurants with live bands and music so that you don't miss out on the night life aspect of your trip.  Mike and I picked up a couple of Cubans and smoked on the hotel balcony while the kids were sleeping.

Major Tip: Crashing Parties in Foreign Countries is a Major Like!  We masked our way into a Mardi Gras Party at the hotel one of the nights.  I'm telling you, I don't miss a beat when it comes to Parties.

Hands down to El Gaucho, the oldest Steakhouse in Aruba.  Best Grouper fish in my life!  Travel the island in an air conditioned tour bus and see the main attractions of this 21 mile island.  You can cover the whole island in one day: California Light House, Alto Vista Chapel, De Palm Island (Water Park), the Natural Bridge and my favorite Baby Beach.  Baby Beach is literally a beach without waves.  Perfect when I'm left alone with an 8 month old and 3 year old while daddy is out snorkeling. =)

Small tips that saved me when traveling with infants, you will pack heavy going to your destination but coming back is a much lighter experience:
Buy all ready made plastic formula bottles (Similac), bring small kid water bottles, disposable bibs and utensils, buy beach toys at your destination, spray on sunscreen, fruit cups, juice boxes, animal crackers and plastic food jars for baby.

On an end note, buying my first house is a Dream Come True but definitely not a Vacation.  But I sure make my Home One Happy Island. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

6. Serious Eats - Tuna Mexicano a la We No Speak Americano

It's Lunch Time and after a great workout or a long morning at work you want a light meal that will refuel your body, make you feel satisfied and not leave you sluggish the rest of the day.  On a side note, I love Indian food but you can't eat it if you need to be productive that day.  Eat Indian food when there is a bed around and you have time for a siesta.  Buen Provecho!

Tuna Mexican Salad
Protein: 3 to 4 ounces of tuna (no salt added) and 1 String Cheese of Non Fat Mozzarella
Carbs: 100% whole wheat pita wrap
Produce: Grape Tomatoes, spinach and a table spoon of Peach Salsa
Plant Fat: this meal has 10 olives but you can substitute for a 1/4 cup of avocado
Sass: Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes and balsamic vinegar

5. Creature of Habit: Morning Full of Sunshine

Guilty! I basically eat the same breakfast every day, 7 days a week. I actually alternate between two great meals which I would love to share.  These two meals are the foundation to start your day off  so that you can continue to make the right decisions throughout the rest of your day. Both Recipes are Cinch Proof.  Enjoy!!

Morning Protein Bowl

Protein: (1) Boiled Egg and (1) Babybel Light Semi-soft Cheese
Carb: 100% Whole Wheat Pita
Plant Fat: 1 tablespoon of Sunflower Seed Butter on the side
Produce: Your Fruit of choice, I usually pick Raspberries or Blue Berries
Sass: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Pepper

Remember: Never Add Salt to your Food! Creates health risks and Major Bloatedness!  Summer is here and we don't want Pouched Bellies.

Oatmeal Meets Yogurt Bowl

Protein: 4 ounces of Greek Non Fat Yougurt (Plain)
Carb: 1/4 cup of choice of oatmeal
Produce: 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and add 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
Plant Fat: 1 tablespoon of FlaxSead Meal and 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter
Sass: Load up on Cinnamon Powder and Mix it all together to make a Nice little fiesta in the morning.

I gave up coffee over a year ago, so I drink De-caf with Vanilla Soy Milk.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

4. The Black Bean Burger Mystery Verdict Part 3

It was a Veelicious Meal!  Thank you Kanwal's Corner!!  The Black Bean Burger is a perfect healthy meal for any occasion.  It's a cold dish that is light and refreshing.  The yellow bell peppers and green scallion add color and a crunchy texture to the mix.  Click here for Recipe:

3. The Black Bean Burger Mystery Part 1

Just an Ordinary Day @ work, when Noon time came around and I had no lunch, Imagine That!  My Lunch Date cancelled, So much for that!  I saw my friend Kanwal down the hall and I heard her say, "Hey! Hey!" I heard her say, "Hey, Hey!  (oh how I love music by Dennis Ferrer)...

There is no crime scene here but a true Food Mystery to be solved.  So I entered Kanwal's Corner.  Click here for the Suspects: 

A true Cinch Mystery.  Can you help put the 5 puzzle pieces together? (Protein, Carb, Plant Fat, Produce and Sass)

2. Flush Away

I’m always looking for a Re-boost!  I search for extremes to detoxify my attitude and lack of self motivation.  It became very easy for me to drown my own thoughts and stress with a drink or two a night.   That glass became a thick surface between me and my reality.  No one has to tell me that “Denial” is written all over my face.  But I do know that an Unhealthy Lifestyle by no means will strengthen MyBackbone. 
I’ve always struggled to accept the Curvaceous Latin figure I was blessed with.  You know the typical wide hips, big butt and petite upper body.   Add two kids to the equation you have a lot of stretching & tearing of what use to be a smooth skin surface.  P.S. I am an emotional eater so that doesn’t help either.  So when people say, “Wow, I can’t believe you have two kids” My response is, “I wasn’t blessed with good genes, I work HARD for it”. 
You name the diet, I’ve done it.   From Diet Pills, the Atkins, Blue Print Cleanse (Detox), calorie counting, weight watchers, hiring a trainer, training for a half marathon, P90x, Insanity, Jillian Michaels, Boot-Camp, Considering Plastic Surgery (Tummy Tuck), countless sports, becoming a Vegetarian and last but not least the Cinch.  It wasn’t until I gave birth to Nathan that I really wanted to take control of my body image & weight in a healthy matter.  My top picks in losing weight are a combination of Weight Watchers and the Cinch while working out minimum three days a week.  Thru this lifestyle you learn the “How to Eat the Perfect Meals and Portions”.  Nothing feels better than feeding your mind and soul the proper dose without adding on the pounds.
Not only are my jeans snug but Money $$ is tight, I don’t eat all Organic, but if I could, I would.  I try to eat all Natural foods without hormones and pesticides.  Trader Joes is now added to my LIKE button.  Shopping at TJ’s makes this task, 100 times easier.  You go in there trusting the food and ingredients of the products.  No wasting time reading labels and its good eating on a budget.  It’s cheaper than Whole Foods and other Fresh Markets around town.   I’ve made grocery shopping a fun outing for the boys since TJ’s has miniature shopping carts, balloons and lollipops.  Saves me a trip to the park and the candy store.   Where there is a Happy Kid there is ALWAYS a Happy Mom.      
In my upcoming posts, I’ll blog about Cinch Recipes/pics, my half lived running career, my future challenge as a Zumba Instructor and more Lifestyle changes I’ve made to Flush Away the stress and pounds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1. To Infinity and Beyond

There are days I wish I was built with a Demo button--switch me off and on.  Or the ability to reboot in a matter of seconds when it's only 10:30 a.m. and it feels like "Wait, isn't it bedtime already?"  I feel like the past five years have sped away and I'm losing myself in between the minutes and hours of the day. 

Here is a glimpse of the past 14 years of my life.  I come from a very Dysfunctional home, your ordinary now a days but not so ordinary upbringing.  I have a brother, three half sister, two step-sisters, one step brother, one step-father and two step-mother's. Are you still following?  I come from a Spanish (Colombian) background and I celebrate all the Jewish Holidays.  Which reminds me Passover is coming soon and the Easter Bunny will be joining us on our annual Egg Hunt.

I met Michael, my husband when I was 14 yr's old, a Freshman in High School.  He is two years older than me.  We enjoyed our teenage years together.  We both finished college and I got married when I was 22, February 2005.  We bought an apartment in Queens, NY and Mastered a 5 year plan.  A glimpse of our five year plan was to work work work, travel travel travel and buy a home five years later and then plan a family.  Well that lovely picture turned backwards on us when I found out I was pregnant on his birthday December 2005.  Wait a minute, me pregnant?! I was just diagnosed with PCOS and the GYN claimed I had infertility issues the summer of 2005.  A true blessing from God, I named my son Nathaniel Pryce, a strong gift from God. 

Once I gave birth, I started to work from home three days a week and I had the best of both worlds.  A true balance between a working mom and a stay at home mom. I still have that schedule and flexibility and thank God because it keeps me grounded and sane.  Two years later on Michael's birthday, AGAIN, we found out i was Prego.  Hmmm... my balanced life became a turmoil in my mind.  I was really content with one child.  And yes both boys birthday's are in August.  November is a very scary Fertile month. Jayce Matthew was born and my five year plan really became KuPlunk.  I love my boys and family with everything I have but one thing changed drastically.  FUN was slowly draining out of me.  Between working, nurturing, feeding, cleaning, chores, moving, a husband, working out, a social life and the etc.'s I feel like I am losing my identity. 

I had a great role model in my life, my mom.  As a single mom, she worked two-three jobs, learned English, went to college and taught me the meaning of saving money for the hard times.  She literally gave herself up to bring up my brother and I in America.  Oh the American Dream!!  I've taken all the positives from her experience and really grasped the hardworking part of it all but I want to change one thing.  Some of you might consider it selfish but I want to keep discovering myself and not just identify myself as a working mother.  I want to keep feeling passionate about my life and continue to grow without having to wait until I'm 40 and my kids are off in college.  Now 40 is relatively young but I want to create a balance between my own identity, as a wife and a mother.  Hey, we are all Super Mom's but I have doubts. 

This blog is my mental, physical and emotional outlet.  Hobbies are too expensive right now since we purchased a home.  My new goal in my fast paced life is to take a beat.  Appreciate the small laughs and smiles we all have in common.  I want to write about happy moments because I don't believe in a a state of happiness.  I'll blog about new recipes, new commercial products, a kids corner, savvy shopping ideas, new songs for your workouts, new opportunities and just my journey in this not so ordinary world where we all Live.   Mostly i want this to be an outlet to shift and change my attitude.  I want to fill up my half empty glass.  Well here goes, to Infinity and Beyond.