Monthly Archives: October 2013

FitBlogLA – Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet

Image This past Tuesday I braved the 405 Freeway & the dreaded Sepulveda Pass to Santa Monica. For those who live in the San Fernando Valley, you can feel my pain. The traffic was well worth it, as the day was filled with inspiring guest speakers & mingling with fellow bloggers.

Annenberg Community Beach House was the perfect venue for this event. For those familiar with my blog, you know how much I like this place from my earlier review. After check-in at the registration table, I headed to the waiting area. The first thing I saw was this display. Thanks to the generous folks at CamelBak, we each got to take one home.Blog20_CamelBakJPG

Our first speaker was Tony Horton. I have friends who swear by P90X. I used the 10-minute Trainer DVDs after I had my daughter in hopes of losing the “baby weight.” Let me just say that Tony Horton is quite the inspirational speaker. Some of the takeaways that I got from him were:

  • Focus on skill & your body will change.
  • Having a heart monitor is essential.
  • Getting good rest is important. Sleeping is healing!
  • Don’t treat your food philosophy like a religion.

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The next speaker was Alyse Levine, R.D. She gave great nutrition advice. She talked about how we should be more mindful when we eat. Don’t eat in front of the TV or while you are checking your emails. You need to be present & mindful in order to feel food satisfaction.

Alyse is a big proponent on eating “CLEAN”, which stands for:

  • Chose real foods
  • Lose the diet mind set
  • Eat mindfully
  • Assess your hunger & true needs
  • No deprivation

My favorite piece of advice that she gave was the fruit test. The best way to determine if you are truly hungry is to ask yourself “would an apple or some other piece of fruit satisfy me?” If yes, then you are truly hungry. If no, then it’s probably an emotional craving & not true hunger. This is something that I’m definitely going to use because I tend to be an emotional eater.

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Afterwards we broke for lunch & the swag fun began! We tried out Athleta gear & took an “ExerSelfie” (exercise selfie), sampled Clif Bars, got fitted for Saucony Glide 7s, tried on sunglasses from Oakley, picked out workout clothes from Roxy, sipped Crystal Light drinks, got face mapping from Dermalogica and checked out sandals from Birkenstock. I’m not gonna lie, it was so awesome to go to all of the gifting tables. Big thanks to Fitness Magazine & all of their sponsors! Blog20_ExerSelfie Blog20_GiftingTables

I spent so much time checking out all of the brands that I had only 15 minutes to spare for lunch. I had to inhale my food so that I wouldn’t miss our next speaker. So much for eating mindfully… Oh well, it’s a work in progress, right?

Our third speaker was Harley Pasternak, a celebrity fitness trainer. Some of his key points included:

  • Juice fasts are unhealthy. One can never use it safely.
  • We should get at least 12,000 steps a day. (Now I really want to get a FitbitFlex.)
  • Try to do resistance training everyday (5-25 minutes per day).
  • Graze instead of gorge your food.
  • Any exercise is better than no exercise.

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Four bloggers – Cassey Ho (Blogilates), Sarah Moore (Skinny Runner), Monica Olivas (Run Eat Repeat) & Whitney Lauritsen (Eco Vegan Gal), made up our final panel of speakers. They gave us tips on how to turn your blog into a business. Blog20_Bloggers

Our fun day ended with a run on the beach & getting our final gift bag. This time I headed home on PCH & took Topanga Canyon – making it home in record time. Note to self: Next time take the canyon roads & surface streets!

Some may ask – was the event worth the drive? I learned a lot of from these knowledgeable speakers. I also got some cool gifts! I think it was worth it, don’t you?! Blog20_Swag

Wordless Wednesday

FitBlogLA

So this is where I spent my day yesterday. My intention was to write a recap of the event & have it posted today. However this is a crazy week with meetings, events & my daughter’s school field trip. Check back by the end of the week & my blog post should be up. It was an amazing day thanks to Fitness Magazine, their great sponsors & the awesome speakers!

Getting Back to Basics with “Retro Baby”

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When my daughter was born (back in 2006), I tried to glean as much information possible from various baby websites to educate myself on all things related to the baby. I also read some of the books in the “What to Expect…” series but I ended up feeling overwhelmed with so much information. How I had longed for a simple, easy-to-read book that gave helpful advice on how to bond with your infant/toddler.

Well moms, have I got a book for you! “Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development With More Than 100 Time-Tested Activities” is a wonderful book written by Anne Zachry. Dr. Zachry is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 20 years of experience and a PhD in Educational Psychology.

The author gives practical, easy-to-follow advice for each developmental stage – from birth to 24 months. The book contains over 100 fun activities for your child such as: tummy time, strength & flexibility exercises, as well as games to encourage walking. Dr. Zachry’s recommendations are backed by extensive research.

What I like about this book is that it takes a back to basics approach – utilizing games that do not involve electronic toys or other gadgets. It encourages reading, singing & physical activity with your child. If you’re a new mom, you’ll definitely want to pick up this book!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given a copy of the book to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Mendocino Farms – New Restaurant Opening in Sherman Oaks!

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I am always on the hunt for a good sandwich & salad place. So when I found out that Mendocino Farms was opening up a restaurant in the Valley, I was thrilled. I’ve always wanted to try their food, but just hadn’t made it out to their downtown Los Angeles or Fairfax locations. They are all about using farm fresh produce, sourced locally & you’ll be happy to note that their prices are comparable to other sandwich & salad cafes.

This past weekend I attended their Friends & Family Pre-Grand Opening Party. After parking our car, we waited outside in line for the doors to open & this is what my daughter noticed right away. Isn’t it cute?!

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Once inside, we were greeted by an employee who walked us through the menu. My husband & I had a hard time deciding which sandwich to get as there were many options to choose from. For my vegan friends, take note that they do have several great choices for you!

My hubby picked the Farm Club. It was tasty & I especially loved the applewood bacon.

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However I couldn’t decide between the Spicy Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi or the interestingly named A Sandwich Study of Heat (AKA Turkey Avocado). The turkey sandwich won out because I was intrigued by the flavor combination of chili aioli & jalapeno relish that is used in the sandwich. I also liked that you could request the sandwich to be “completely cool” or “daringly hot.” I decided to play it safe & just got the regular “medium” heat. This sandwich did not disappoint, as it was very flavorful.

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Mendocino Farms is very kid-friendly. We were seated across from the chalkboard wall, where kids are encouraged to draw on while they wait. They also have a game table & a small kids-only table, perfect for those get-togethers after a play date!

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The kids menu has several options. My daughter got a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of apple slices & a drink. Tip: the kid size portion is a half-sandwich, so if your child is a hearty eater, you may want to pick from the regular menu. Needless to say, a half-sandwich, side & drink for only $3.95 is a good deal.

Mendocino Farms opens this Thursday, October 10th. They are located on 14141 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. For a peak at their menu, click here. What sandwich or salad would you order? If you have been to a Mendocino Farms, did you eat happy? I’d love to read your comments in the section below!

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Disclosure: I attended a pre-grand opening party where we received complimentary food & drinks. No compensation was received for this post & all opinions are my own.

An Afternoon with America’s Best Racing

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Disclosure: I was invited to an event at Santa Anita Park along with a select group of bloggers – all opinions are my own.

On a beautiful Friday in September, I ventured out to Arcadia. For those of you who read my blog, you’ll know that I had been out to Santa Anita Park earlier this summer for a food festival. However this was going to be my first time at the races! America’s Best Racing had invited me to be a part of the opening day festivities. America’s Best Racing is dedicated to bringing the sport of Thoroughbred racing to a younger generation of fans.

After we went through the club house entrance, our group was given a tour of the grounds.

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After the tour, we made our way to our box seats. Check out the view from my seat!

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I was given a brief tutorial on horse betting, but to be honest with you, I just went with the horse that had a pretty name. For the first race, I bet on Georgia, who had pretty good odds. Well wouldn’t you know, my horse came in first place!

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I watched a couple more races & then my time at Santa Anita Park came to an end.

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It was a fun-filled afternoon of horses, food & drinks! If you’d like to visit Santa Anita Park, click here for more information.

SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk

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Disclosure: The wonderful folks at SKECHERS invited me down to their headquarters last month to learn about the SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. I was treated to a luncheon provided by Fresh Brothers & received a gift card for a free pair of SKECHERS shoes. In return, I got to meet the awesome people at The Friendship Circle of the South Bay. No compensation was received for this post & all opinions are my own.

On a sunny day in Manhattan Beach, I met the Holliday family – John & Kay, along with their son Anthony. They belong to The Friendship Circle of the South Bay which is an organization that gives young student volunteers an opportunity to socialize with special needs children. One of their biggest programs at The Friendship Circle is the lunch-time club. This is a school-sanctioned club located on various school campuses throughout the South Bay. Student volunteers get to eat lunch with special needs children, play games & develop long-lasting friendships.

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As I had mentioned previously, Anthony Holliday belongs to The Friendship Circle. Anthony has autism & is non-verbal. He communicates with his family & friends by writing in his notebook. Danielle Lindgren, a Friendship Circle volunteer, met Anthony when she was in 7th grade. Her friendship with Anthony has lasted a long time, as she is now in 12th grade. John Holliday (Anthony’s dad) credits the organization stating “The Friendship Circle has opened up so many doors for our family & Anthony.”

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I think it’s important to give back – whether it’s through volunteer efforts or raising awareness about an important cause. The SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk does all of that & more! This annual fun walk takes place at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Sunday, October 27th. The proceeds from the walk benefits children with special needs & education in South Bay area schools. When you register for the walk, you can designate which area you would like your contribution to go towards.

You can learn more about the SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk by watching this short video. Click here to register for the Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. Remember: you can walk for education & to make a difference!