Monthly Archives

July 2015

fitness, health


July 29, 2015

About 18 months ago, Shaun T and I first met. He had changed some friends’ lives, so I figured he couldn’t be too bad. We hung out in my living room nearly every day and he told me what to do and made it so easy. He even gave me a helper (Tania) that showed me what to do when things were too hard.

I started his T25 program right as I was really starting to improve my health. It got me in the best shape of my life, even though I was doing almost all modified/no-impact moves à la Tania. Stuff happened (like that time I moved to another continent) and we haven’t hung out in a long time. But, the guy earned my respect and trust real fast.

I also kinda love Shaun T because he is an AMAZING dancer. And I always wished he just would create a workout program where he would teach me to dance like him. Since we are besties and all, he must have heard me and he went to work. The result: CIZE (the “end of exercize”). It just launched last week and I gave it a try today.

EEK!! It was so awesome! I was worried it would be corny, honestly. Let’s be honest: an exercize program for “everyone” that is dance-based could easily be cheesy. And then there is that line in the preview where the girl says “that made me feel, like, really cool.” Don’t worry, he redeems the whole video by ending it with “this ain’t no cha-cha-cha.” I’m a swing dancer and ex-gymnast, so I can dance a bit. I don’t THIS kind of dance, but I can dance. So, somehow, in his Shaun T awesomeness, he made Cize easy to follow (it was about as easy to learn the choreography as his other workouts… he breaks it down but you still need a couple of tries to put it all together without a fumble), and fun! So FUN! NOT CHEESY! I was dancing between the “sets” and the best part: my cardio workout—which is NOT my favorite thing and I usually have to block the clock on the screen so I stop staring at it the whole time—flew by!

Shaun T, you won me over again. I’ll see you tomorrow!


Wanna join me? You can even try it for free for a month! Hit me up if you want to join my daily dance parties or get started here and click on “Beachbody on Demand” on the top left.

health, nutrition

HEALTHY EATING TIP: Eat what you love

July 29, 2015

Eat the foods you love and enjoy! This salad contained some of my favorites, and yes, some are healthier than others. But it averaged out to a very healthy meal and finished as two cleaned plates! I learned this tip long ago when I started eating salads for lunch every day. I found that if I threw in a few “treat” ingredients (at the time it was black olives, organic corn and green grapes), I ended up LOVING my big healthy salad. Eating, and being, healthy should be an enjoyable experience. It should be more about adding in the GOOD STUFF and loving it so much that you stick to the plan. No one likes deprivation, and no one is going to stay in deprivation mode as a lifestyle. This salad included some of my favorite foods and flavors (sweet potatoes, grapes, chèvre, sriracha, cayenne and chipotlé) and came together harmoniously. If these aren’t some of your favorite foods, try putting together a salad or healthy meal that incorporates them. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


RECIPE: Sweet Potato Salad with Sriracha-Lime Dressing

(serves 4)

➵ 3 sweet potatoes (including my FAVORITE Japanese yams—it’s purple on the outside and white on the inside and amazing), cubed
➵ 2 tbsp of melted butter or coconut oil
➵ 1 large avocado, cubed
➵ 1 red onion, thinly sliced
➵ 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
➵ 1 cup red grapes, halved
➵ chèvre (optional for serving)
➵ mixed greens (I used romaine, spinach, mâche and roquette)
➵ 2 tbsp mayonaise
➵ 2 tbsp (or more to taste) of fresh lime juice
➵ 1tsp sriracha
➵ pinch of cayenne
➵ pinch of chipotlé
➵ 1/2 tsp of honey (optional)
➵ salt and pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cube sweet potatoes, toss in melted butter or coconut oil, season with salt and pepper. Retain the skin for added nutrition!
  2. Roast sweet potatoes until soft and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and let cool to room temperature after finished.
  3. In small bowl, make lime-sriracha dressing. Combine mayo, lime juice, sriracha, cayenne, chipotlé and salt/pepper to taste. Add the honey if desired. Stir well and set aside.
  4. Prepare other salad items: onion, cranberries and grapes. Toss with greens, add cooled sweet potatoes, optional chèvre (but this is not “optional” if you live in France! 😉), and top with dressing.
  5. Enjoy!


community, growth, life

Calling all Dreamers!

July 28, 2015

There are so many times in my life I’ve been knocked down. Be it when I was a toddler and abused by my bio-father. Or when I was a gymnast and always breaking. When I finished 11th, just fractions of a point outside of the coveted Top Ten in my graduating class. When I had a car accident that could have killed me. When I became chronically ill and partially home-bound for 5+ years. When I lost my job due to betrayal from someone that was supposed to be protecting and supporting me. Each punch could have been a knock-out. And honestly, a couple of them almost were. But, I refuse to be less than I am meant to be. I refuse to leave this world without making a difference. I refuse to be overcome.

So here I am. I’m not just living, but I’m thriving. I still have a long trail to forge ahead, and I’ll keep dreaming and proving to myself that I am resilient and can do hard things.

I’ve spent the last week in an awesome group of 500+ like-minded dreamers. Community is so important. In just that week, I feel the momentum, the courage, and the excitement swelling in my bones. I am waking up with excitement each day and having trouble sleeping because I can’t stop dreaming about the future. I’m home here, and for the first time in my life I feel like I’m WHERE I’m meant to be, DOING what I was meant to do. That sweet spot.

I’m looking for other dreamers. Other world-changers. Other brave souls. The ones who don’t give up. Don’t play victim. Don’t stay down. The ones who have a dream to chase. The ones determined to chose what they will become.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was help people. Make the world a better place. Make a difference in the lives of others. I believe my journey has happened for a reason and it’s my _responsibility_ to use that journey and to extend my hand and pay it forward into the lives of others. THAT’S why I chose to become a wellness coach. I’ve learned too much about health, fitness and nutrition as I’ve worked on saving my own life to keep it to myself. Now that things are a bit more settled here in France, I’m diving (back) in and would love for you to join me.

Curious? Drop me a comment, use the contact form or shoot me a message on any social media account. I’m extending my hand to 5 more change-makers for my DO SOMETHING Project group this month, to 2 curious souls in a no-commitment coaching sneak peek to see what the heck I’m talking about, and to another 2 fire-starters for a new coach training!

growth, health, life


July 25, 2015

Life is full of change. Sometimes its big changes, sometimes its small. But it all amounts to something really important: YOUR LIFE. This month, in the midst of summer vacations and whatever else may be going on, we are committing to DO SOMETHING every day to make our lives more like we want them to be. More healthy. More authentic. More what you imagine when you dream. What will you do today to change your life?

This is something I need in my life. But I know I am not alone. And I want, more than anything, to help others out of the ruts in which they may find themselves. So, I’m asking if I can join with you on your journey, and you on mine?

Starting August 1, The DO SOMETHING Project is going LIVE! We already have a group forming over on Facebook, so all you have to do is hit me up below in the comments or on FB and I will add you! We are committing, together, to DO SOMETHING every day that gets us closer to our goals. It can be small steps. In fact, I encourage you to make them small steps. Lots of small steps = one giant leap toward the life you desire.

“What’s simple to do is also simple not to do. The magic is not in the complexity of the task; the magic is in the doing of simple things repeatedly and long enough to ignite the miracle of the Compound Effect. So, beware of neglecting the simple things that make the big things in your life possible. The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.”
– DARREN HARDY, The Compound Effect

So here is a little of my story. This is WAY scarier than posting about some of the hard stuff I’ve been through. Because I’m on the other side of that stuff. But this journey is still very much in it’s infancy, and I’ve taken more steps backwards than forward. That hardly seems fair to say when I look at all of the steps forward I’ve taken in the last two years… heck, the last 13 years. But, I was SPRINTING forward, and then… I got de-railed. By myself.

I discovered Shakeology and Beachbody right before the holidays in 2013. I had been following my friend Becka on her journey and I couldn’t not join along. We had both had some tough health issues and I could SO RELATE to her story. Our bodies were different in a lot of ways, but our stories were so similar. I was watching her come alive again and I knew how desperately I was seeking to find life. So, I did it. And, HOLY CRAP everything changed. I was able to drop several more medicines out of my regimen, and ALL of the other supplements I was taking (at one point I was on 30 pills a day between medications and supplements). I got in the best shape of my life, and FAST. It was almost enough to make me upset because I trained so hard for so many years as a competitive gymnast and I struggled SO much with me weight and my ability to build muscle (sidenote: I was eating all the wrong things back then.) That experience gave me the confidence I needed to know that I could do what I was doing: move overseas. I was leaving behind my team of docs that had supported me and treated me since I was 15 years old. I was going into so many unknowns, but the biggest thing I wanted to do, other than find myself and be true to my being, was to prove to myself I could still do hard things.

And I’m doing hard things. I’m learning a new language at the age of 33 (try it. I dare you.). I got a visa and then renewed it (you have no idea how hard that is!). I have been over a year with only a couple of doctor’s appointments when I’ve visited home, aside from my newly-found acupuncturist here in Paris. I’m designing again, working with French clients, and have built more websites in the last few months than ever. Hardest of it all: I was finally willing to do what I needed to do to get rid of the toxicity that had been literally keeping me ill for 7 years. Change is hard. Really hard. And really scary.

But through all of that, I totally let myself get de-railed, for much longer than I would have liked, with my fitness journey. As a competitive gymnast turned chonically-ill patient, getting “back in my body” and feeling strong was so redeeming. So encouraging. So invigorating. It gave me confidence in every other area of my life. This isn’t about being skinny. It’s about being and feeling healthy in your own skin. Being in the kind of shape that allows you to do amazing things like climb monuments or hike trails. To be able to ADVENTURE.

I’m getting back on the wagon. And this time, I’m doing everything in my power to set myself up for SUCCESS. I am reading my personal development books (in English and French). I reconnected with my success partner. I am exercising as much as I can when I’m in the city. Now it’s time to get back to my favorite kind of exercise: the 30-minutes a day in my undies in the comfort of my own home! 😉 You guys, it doesn’t get any easier than that and it WORKS! (kicks self in the butt for stopping)

But more than working out, I want my life to matter. I want to breathe my own significance and spread it as far as I can. I have been searching for the way I could make my life count for so many years. I’m passionate about so many things. If I was a kid preparing to go to college, maybe I’d become a lawyer so I could fight human trafficking alongside the likes of IJM. But, I have lived through a lot. I have learned a lot. And I’ve always been convinced it was for a reason. To prepare me for the next phase. That it would be redeemed in some amazing way. So here is my chance to use my story, my journey, to make a difference.

as an expat, life, travel

365 Jours

July 25, 2015

It was an impressive day—a day overflowing with emotions, expectations, and dreams. Still, nothing was guaranteed. As we say, “go big or go home,” except I had just left my home. I put (almost) all my eggs in one basket called “Paris.” Would it be a renaissance or disaster? Despite all the unknown, I knew that Paris would be more like home than my own. With two suitcases, my cat, few French words and a heart full of courage, I boarded the plane and embarked toward my new life.

The word “risk” is not enough. But is it really a risk when you follow your heart to your true nature, your true self? Honestly, I think the biggest risk is not to act when you know you have found your way.

I gave up a lot to follow my found path. On the other hand, had I stayed in Florida, had I continued my daily life, I would have given up much more. And I would have lost my chance, maybe my once-in-a-lifetime chance, to remind ME.

It had been a long time since I had been healthy enough to work. On a normal week, I had three to five appointments doctor, and I left the States with no provisions or health team in place except the air of Hugo’s Paris: “Respirer Paris, cela conserve l’âme.” (To breathe Paris, this preserves the soul.) A year before I had tasted the hope of life, this conservation of the soul, and I had to chase after it. The race that followed was difficult and winding, albeit clear. There is absolutely nothing simple about deciding to become an immigrant crossing the Atlantic.


Today, after a complete turn around the sun, I think back to last 365 days. Were they as difficult as I had imagined? Yes. Were they as wonderful as I had imagined? Yes, they were even more.

Last year, I wanted to learn the language, find me, see more of the world, and press restart, all while proving to myself that I could do hard things. It had been many years since I felt I could do hard things, or even things, because of these illnesses. If I was going to start over, I had to know I still had in me the girl that was strong, courageous and capable—the girl I felt I had lost many years ago. But what the year had in store for me was so much more than the chance to push restart and find “Mélissa” (the French version of Melissa). In a short 365 days, I created a life that makes my former feel the more foreign. Every day still has it’s challenges, but I try to see them as lessons—always searching for the nugget of gold or the silver lining. One thing is for sure: it has been an adventure and the next year undoubtedly has more defining adventure in store. I can’t wait.