Archive | July, 2012

The Joggin’ for Frogmen Race – A Salute to Those Who’ve Served

31 Jul

I had the good fortune of running in the Joggin’ for Frogmen race, a race held in honor of 31 fallen American Warriors.  The race was the first annual, and held one week before the first anniversary of the August 6th, 2011 Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan, which took the lives of 31 of our American Warriors from various branches of our military.  The race was held on the beautiful campus of San Diego State University.  Men, women and children came out to the support the cause!

The Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k teamed up with the BOOT CAMPAIGN ( to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The BOOT CAMPAIGN profits, race registration profits, and donations will go to these foundations for them to fulfill their own missions in helping military families.

The thing that struck me during this race is the role running plays in promoting community development.  Finding a cause or something you are passionate about can help develop your fitness goals.  Many people attending today were personally vested in the event as they or someone they love has served in the US Armed Forces.  Surrounding yourself with a group of passionate people at an event like this can go a long way toward prompting health and wellness.  In addition to running the 3.3 mile run, attendees had the opportunity to see the Leap Frogs jump from a plane and parachute into the field to join race participants, one of the highlights of the morning.

After I caught my breath from a hilly run, I headed over to meet Bestselling author Sean Parnell, who was talking to race participants and signing copies of his book, Platoon Outlaw.  Hundreds of people lined up to meet him and he took time with each one of them.  I walked away with a signed copy of his book, dedicated to a friend of my husband and I, who served overseas.

I had a few moments to talk to the race coordinator as well as second place overall women’s finisher Jen Skakiw.  I asked Jennifer her advice for runner’s training for a 5K run and she shared that an essential part of race preparation is to incorporate speed training into your routine.  A 5K for people looking to perform well is a very faced-paced race.  Out of the gate you are running at nearly a full-speed pace and by the start of mile two you are running all out.  In some way running a 5K almost feels harder to me than a half marathon, as from the start it moves quickly.  Warming up is important because of this, so aim to get in a few minutes of running before the start of the race.  Jennifer also recommends working in hill training as you prepare.  The Joggin’ for Frogmen race course was rather hilly.  I was suddenly glad for the hills I’ve been training on.

This event was a great opportunity to bring out community and support an important cause.  For those looking to incorporate running into your fitness routine, consider finding a race that supports something you care about.  You’ll be more likely to get others involved as a result, train hard and enjoy the event!


How To Create a Modeling Portfolio

27 Jul

If you looking to get into the modeling industry, one of the most important things you will need is a strong up-to-date modeling portfolio.  Aspiring models are often unsure how to put this together or end up adding images that are not suitable for booking the work they aim to do.  Consider the following steps when looking to create a workable portfolio to develop your business.

1)      Determine the type of modeling work you aspire to do:  The images you place in your portfolio should reflect the work you intend to do.  One of the biggest mistakes models make is shooting images that don’t resonate with clients with whom they wish to work.  For example, let’s assume you feel like you are well suited to model for a company that promotes family fitness.  It’s unlikely that this company will want to see anything in your portfolio that is overly sexy or revealing.  If you hope to book work that requires you to wear swim wear it’s appropriate for you to include an image in a bathing suit but make sure it’s conservative and tasteful.  If it’s in your portfolio, clients will assume that’s the type of work you want.

2)      Find a photographer.  Hiring a qualified photographer is critical to your success.  There are many people who might offer to shoot you for free but it’s imperative that you keep in mind that these images are a reflection of your abilities.  A good photographer will help you on camera, understand lighting, be professional, thoroughly attempt to understand your goals, help you in securing good locations and secure permits as necessary  and have a solid background in shooting images similar to that which you wish to create.  Ask for recommendations and make sure the photographer is responsive.  There is nothing worse than hiring someone who fails to return calls, respond to emails or provide your images to you in a timely manner.

3)      Determine your wardrobe: Once you have an idea of the type of clients for whom you wish to work you are ready to create a vision for your images.  Arm yourself with as many ideas as possible.  Look up talent on model websites to see if there are ideas, ask agents or others involved in the industry.  Go through ads, look at catalogs and surf the web for eye-catching images.  Pay careful attention to look for models that look like you!  For example, let’s assume you want to work for companies associated with the banking industry.  What do those people look like?  Are they dressed in suits, how is their hair styled, is their outfit conservative, what type of accessories do they have on?  You are going to aim to dress like this!  Furthermore, you should look at the props that are often featured.  Do not incorporate so many props that they distract from your image, but do consider using something.  Examples for this type of shoot might be a briefcase or a laptop.  Bring a lot of items.  I’ve never been at a shoot where I had too many choices!  The photographer will sometimes say the color doesn’t work or the texture isn’t good on camera.  In this case you will want to have back-ups.

4)      Hire a Make-Up Artist (MUA):Now is not the time to start learning to do your own on-camera make-up. Qualified hair and make-up artists understand the intricacies of shooting for photos.  Hair and make-up on camera can be different than that in real life.  You may really like the MUA who did your make-up for your wedding, but it’s important to ask if he or she has experience in make-up for photo shoots.  Look at the work they have done,ask for rates and make sure you find out what that includes.  Schedule your appointment well in advance.

5)      Come Prepared: Arrive on time with everything you need.  Have a list of questions for your photographer.  Bring the research you have collected to share with the photographers.  This will give them an idea of what you hope to capture.  Do not, under any circumstances, let the photographer convince you to do anything you don’t feel represents you well.  Assuming you’ve done your research in picking a photographer this is likely not going to be a problem.  Never-the-less, keep that in mind.  I walk into every photo shoot now thinking, these are the clients for whom I work.  If they were standing here right now would they like this picture I am taking?  It’s as simple as that.

My headshot taken by Sylvia Hardt

6)      Make sure one of your images is a strong head shot.  If you want to do professional modeling nearly every client will ask for a headshot and sometimes that is all they ask for.  A headshot should look exactly like you.  Now is not the time to glam it up.  Look at most of the ads out there, they are real people.  Aim to look like a real person.  Have your MUA do your make-up naturally, wear a solid color shirt, have your hair styled simply and make sure the shoot is not taken with a distracting background.  Headshots typically only show people from waist up.  You’re headshot is the most important image you have in your portfolio.  Make sure you get something that represents you well.Once you have your images back you will want to purchase a portfolio.  I don’t think this is the time to skimp on money and I’d spend at least $40 on a hard cover book.  There are several available on  Simply search for “modeling portfolio book” and you will find options.  Have your pictures professionally printed and add them to your book.  Make sure you also get web images as there may be times you are required to submit photos online.On a final note, I’ve rarely been asked at auditions by casting agents to see my portfolio.  However, it is vital that my agent have up-to-date quality pictures of me as often times she is required to present them to clients when attempting to book me for auditions and jobs.  My comp card has been extremelly important, as I’ve been asked for it at nearly every audition I’ve been to.  My comp card is printed on quality paper, profesionally designed and has four images, a head-shot on the front, and three images on the back (one lifestyle, one fitness and one evening wear).  My name and my measurements are also shown on the card.

Good luck to everyone just starting out their modeling journey.  May you grow and learn and as you do always remember to share your knowledge with others.

Top Four Ways People Sabotage Their Fitness Efforts

25 Jul

Image copyright Doug Berry available on

1)      Starting Too Big: Dreaming big is good.  I want to lose 50 pounds, I want run 10 miles, I want to hold a plank position for 2 minutes.  Achieving, however, is attainable by making small steps towards your goals.  Health and fitness should be a lifelong pursuit, not one that lasts a month.  Just like weight loss, if you want it to last, you need to take one-step at a time.  Begin with a reasonable goal. If you are not a runner and desire to develop your skills, set a goal that you will run/walk one mile three times a week.  That’s it.  Don’t go out and try and run three miles on your first attempt.  You’ll disappoint and loss motivation to continue.  Bottom line: Like building a house, develop a strong foundation.  Start one brick at a time and move up from there.2)      Failing to Develop a Support Network:  People are much more likely to stick to a goal and succeed in achieving it when they are surrounded by like-minded people who offer support.  There are many ways to develop a support network.  Commit to fitness goals with your partner.  Create challenges for each other and register for a class you can do together.  Become part of an online accountability group.  These areas are often good places to share ideas, ask questions and gain support.  Find a smaller gym where you are more likely to get to know the individuals or join a running group or hire a trainer to help keep you on track.  Bottom line: People never succeed in isolation, they succeed in groups.

3)      Doing What Others Say You Should:  A lot of people will offer advice when you become vocal about wanting to get in shape.  They might tell you the only way to do it is to lift weights, or to do cardio an hour a day.  The reality is that you will not stick with it if you don’t enjoy it.  Keep in mind that it will be difficult at first.  You can’t say “I don’t enjoy any exercise at all”.  Pick something that seems to suit you.  Maybe you love tennis, or you like walking your dog.  Try a yoga class and start with gentle yoga as to not overexert yourself.  If you like the outdoors consider hiking.  Create obstacle course for your kids in the park and participate with them.  Bottom line: In some form or fashion start moving.

4)      Exercising Purely for Weight Loss:  Many people decide to exercise to lose weight and when the weight doesn’t come off quickly they become disappointed.  Your body takes time to adjust to new patterns.  It has a strong desire to hold on to fat and pounds, especially for women.  Choose exercise for health.  Years ago a friend of mine told me about her commitment to start runing.  Day in and day out she ran, everyday seeing the same image in the mirror.  Not a lot was changing physically for her but fortunately the main reason she chose to start running was for her health.  She felt better physically and mentally regardless of what the scale said.  This motivated her to stick with it.  She still exercises daily and now has an incredible physique.  It didn’t happen overnight though.  It built over a series of years.  Bottom line: Exercise for sanity, not vanity.

Life Without a Roadmap

13 Jul

I think sometimes we expect life to be easy.  When it isn’t or it doesn’t go as planned we get confused and upset.  Why is this so hard to navigate, you might ask yourself.  It just is.  Life is about making a series of difficult choices.  Each one leads to a different end point.

I wish I had a great bullet point list of how to effectively navigate this.  That would come in very helpful for many people.  Unfortunately, that’s not what this blog will really offer.  What I will say though is at the end of the day, there is one thing that’s important to remember.  Life rarely turns out exactly how you expect it to.  The more you aim to map it out, the less likely you are to end up exactly where you want.  The reason behind that is in following a particular path you thought you set for yourself, you miss the unique possibility of all the things that might bring you happiness.

It’s like this, imagine a trip from Arizona cross-country to Florida.  You can map it out and follow the path exactly there.  However, you might get half way across the country and the road is closed.  You might get half way there, look at the clock and feel like you are way behind schedule in you’re getting where you want to be.  This can easily ruin your trip.  On the other hand, maybe down a different road, one that you didn’t expect to be on, one that takes more time, you find great fulfillment.  While you path looks different from what you envisioned, it brings you more happiness than you thought possible.  Don’t map out life, get lost along the journey and discover the beauty the lies in undiscovered and unexpected places.

Fruit & Sugar: How to Maintain a Healthy Balance

11 Jul

“I can’t eat fruit, I don’t want to get fat.” Does that statement have any truth to it? …..Let’s find out.

Fruit, compared to many other options, is a great choice.  It often contains a decent amount of fiber helping to fill the body and has a variety of nutrients.  The downfall to fruit can be its sugar content.  Sugar is something we should try to limit in our diet, as having too much causes all sorts of issues for us.  So, it’s not to say you can’t have some, it is to say that you keep the amount in check.

There are two types of sugars, those occurring naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and those in dairy (lactose).  Other sugars are those sugars and caloric sweeteners  added during processing.  The American Heart Association (www.Heart. Org)   recommends we limit out sugar intake to 26 grams a day for women and 36 for men.  Those should come from naturally occurring sugars.

So, think about your diet.  I’m guessing the vast majority of us are consuming way too much sugar.  It’s partially habit, lack-of-knowledge, convenience, and let’s face it, it just tastes good.  One thing that helps is to be educated on where you find sugar though, which will aid in beginning to limit our consumption.

Fruit is not all created equally.  When looking at the sugar content, here’s how it stacks up:

Blackberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Strawberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Apples: 13 Grams

Pineapples 16 Grams

Bananas: 18 Grams

Grapes: 23 Grams

Here are some simple tips to help you maintain reasonable amounts of sugar intake:

1)      When reaching for fruit, pick berries first.  Overall they seem to be one of the lowest on the spectrum of sugar content.  That and the fact that they are packed full of vitamins make them a good choice.

2)      Don’t drink your food.  It’s easy to throw a bunch of fruit in a blender and feel like you are eating healthy but it’s important to remember that the body craves the sensation that comes along with chewing.  Allowing yourself to actually eat foods rather than drink all of them aids in this desire. In addition, we often consume more than necessary when we drink our calories because it goes down so easily.  This is particularly true of fruit smoothies. Same goes for juicing oranges.  Fresh squeezed orange juice tastes delicious but should be reserved for a treat, as it can easily result in quickly downing 5 oranges, putting us over our daily limit.

3)      Shop the produce section, not the grocery store isles for fruit.  Canned peaches in heavy syrup do not constitute fruit.  There is very little in the way of nutrition in canned fruits and whenever possible the best choices are fresh fruit.  Frozen fruit without any additives is also a good option.

4)      Avoid the attitude of “It has fruit in it, it must be healthy”.  There is nothing farther from the truth.  Fruit is contained in many products and dishes but that does not mean it’s healthy.  Even dried fruit is often coated in sugar and should be avoided unless it’s something you consider your “treat”.

5)      Combine fruit with other things.  Get your fruit intake by adding a bit of fruit to a variety of dishes you eat during the day.  Considering adding blueberries to Greek yogurt, apples to Steel-cut oats and bananas with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter.  Doing this can help you combine proteins, carbs and healthy fats to your snacks.

A Life Unlived

6 Jul

Every individual’s mid-life crisis is unique, and some might say they never experience it.  It seems that for nearly all though there is at least one moment that calls into question everything you know.  For me, that pivotal moment came unexpectedly as I lay in bed one night.  Reflecting on where I’ve been and who I’ve become, the visions flashed before my eyes of time ticking away.  You don’t know how long you’re here for; who are you and what do you truly want?  To seize that moment meant risk, which meant fear.  Fear is not something I’m fond of, but the five years prior had given me plenty of practice.  Life presents circumstances that touch the inner-most parts of your soul, they call into question everything you believe.  It’s in those moments that who you are is truly defined.

Who am I and who do I want to be?  What do I stand for and what do I believe?  I’d grown complacent over the years, and it wasn’t a bad place to be, but something inside of me looking back said there has to more to this.  It was then that I made the decision to jump.  I would not look back on an unlived life.  My childhood memories flashed before my eyes, the dream of being everything.  Along the way the roles disappeared and the hope that I might achieve them leaving just a few to cling to.

Something inside of me said jump.  Don’t think too much just jump.  Jumping requires trust, trust in yourself that you are capable.  Tick tok, time is running out.  You have to jump, or make a decision to stay safely where you are at.  Happiness sometimes comes in risk.  It comes by taking a chance.  Dreaming leads to achieving, if you are willing to take action.  Action requires trust in yourself.  Trust in yourself requires letting go of fear.  Letting of fear is the hardest part.

Who are you what do you love?  Can you answer that?  Who do you want to be?  What have you done to get there?  What are your passions and why?  I’m guessing you haven’t been asked that in a very long time.  We experience crisis mid-life because it hits us.  Somewhere along the way people stopped asking us these question, and we forgot the answers as a result.

I returned to the place where I asked these questions. Although painful at times, answering them makes us complete.  It ensures life never goes unlived, a moment never gets missed, and that at the end of the day we can indeed say, “Life didn’t go exactly as planned but I truly lived.”  You don’t get a do-over in life, and as a result you have to make this one count.

Eat for Health: A Peek Inside My Shopping Cart

4 Jul

Looking fit is partially about exercise, but has a tremendous amount to do with what you eat.  Diet plays a major factor in fitness, and selecting the right foods, as well as combinations of foods at the right times can go a long way toward health, physique and weight management.  All products are not created equally!  When choosing foods it’s best to make every attempt to eat one ingrediant whole foods.  Things that are not packaged or processed including fruits and veggies from the produce section, grains and legumes, lean meats, nuts and seeds and eggs.  Truth-be-told though, we are all going to buy some packaged products.  Sometimes it’s for convince, others times it’s simply because we like the item.

Below I’ve included items from my grocery basket.  Some I eat often, some only once in a while as more of an indulgence with a healthy flair.  This allows me to keep my diet very clean almost all the time.  Check out these items and give them a try.  If you are currently eating a similar products check the labels and compare.  The items I have on here a known to many to be excellent healthy options.

Jennie-O Extra Lean 99/1 Turkey:  This is great on the grill as turkey burgers or chopped, cooked in a pan with PAM and served over a sweet potato.  Typically I season it with a little garlic powder or fresh garlic cloves.




Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Seeds:  These are delicious and nutritious.  Serve them in Greek Yogurt or in a protein shake.  My friend Bath Katz makes the best homemade guacamole with fresh avocados and includes these.





Trader Joe’s Raw Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter: All this contains is raw almonds.  There is no added salt and no added sugar.  It tastes great served on the brown rice cakes featured below and topped with blueberries.  You can add it to smoothies, serve it on Ezekiel bread or eat a tablespoon plain.  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s  near you simply read the label to ensure the only ingredient is almonds.  The same goes if you are eating peanut butter.  Find a brand that has only peanuts.



 Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cake: Brown rice cakes are easily portable.  Select brown rice rather than white and check to make sure there is not added sugar.





 Starkist Albacore White Tuna in Water: A great recipe for tuna, mix Fage Greek Yogurt with spices, celery, jicama and the tuna and serve on Ezekiel bread.    travel with this tuna and add it to salads if you are eating out.  Tuna contains a good amount of protein, which is essential to include in your diet.




Food for Life 100% Whole Grain Ezekiel Bread: If you are going to eat bread stay away from the white!  Ezekiel bread is excellent topped with chicken and veggies, tuna and nut butter.  This also comes in a low sodium variety.




Manischewitz Balsamic Vinegar: This is a great alternative to high calorie dressings.





Green Giant Butternut Squash: This comes in a steamable bag so it’s easy to prepare.  It’s delicious with cinnamon sprinkled in top.





Endangered Species All-Natural Dark Chocolate: If you are going to indulge, dark chocolate is a better option that other varieties.  These small squares are the perfect portion ensuring you don’t eat too much.





Hopefully this offers a few ideas for you next time you’re at the store.  I’m always looking for good options so please feel free to share your favorites!