Speed Jump Rope Review

When Natrualico offered me a speed jump rope at no charge in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance. I love jumping rope because it is a very effective and intense workout. Ten minutes burns 150 calories! Add that to rounds of push ups and squats for an awesome total body workout.

The rope is 10 feet long with four metal ball bearings in the handle which helps the rope turn faster and comes with a handy mesh carrying bag.


I’m going to list the pros and cons of the rope, then give my final thoughts.


Rope can be easily adjusted for any height.

Very lightweight.

Does not get tangled up if you throw it in your gym bag.

Handles turn quickly.


The rope is a little too lightweight.

Handles could be slightly larger.

When I first started using the rope it took a few adjustments to get the perfect length. I noticed that I seemed to be gripping the handles tightly, which I realized was because the handles are small in width, but got used to it after a few minutes.

The rope is great for speed jumping and doing tricks such as crossovers and double unders. The light weight is fine for an experienced jumper, but a novice could probably benefit from a slightly heavier rope.

All in all, I did enjoy using the Naturalico speed jump rope and recommend it for seasoned jumpers.


Goddess Rash Guard Review

Upon first glance you may think this is a review about a fancy topical cream for irritated skin! A rash guard is a long sleeved athletic shirt that is traditionally worn under a wetsuit to prevent chafing or alone to prevent sunburn and abrasions.  I received a Goddess Rash Guard at no charge from Legend to review.

I always wear sleeveless tops when I work out and teach classes, so I was curious to see how it would feel to wear long sleeves. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was during my dance class; my upper body movements were not  restricted!


Love the white! I look like an ice skater!

Love the white! I look like an ice skater

The Goddess Rash Guard is made from a moisture wicking material, so it was not soaked after I finished teaching dance class. I also took a hot  yin yoga class at Priya Hot Yoga while wearing the rash guard and was very comfortable as I moved around on my mat.

The shirt is treated with UPF 50+ which will help protect my skin from sun damage when I start training for 5K races on Kelly Drive. The shirts are made in the USA, have a money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty! You can order a Goddess Rash Guard on Amazon.

Adventures in Hot Yoga

In the 90’s I used to take yoga at least two to three times a week. Yoga was a good counterbalance for all of the cycling, aerobics and strength classes that I taught (as many as 20 per week). The other thing that I loved was that I was able to slow down completely focus on myself for a change! Since then I am lucky if I take one or two classes a year.

I recently started renting space for personal training sessions at Priya Hot Yoga in my neighborhood. The studio is owned by three lovely gals: Eve, Katie and Kristin.

grand opening

Last week I finally decided to take a class. (Check out the details/benefits of hot yoga here.) I signed up for the introductory special – 30 days of unlimited classes for $40. After that, Priya has a selection of class cards and memberships. They are also part of the ClassPass network.

I wear glasses 95% of the time, but popped in a pair of contacts in anticipation of many downward dog poses. The class had six other participants in the beautiful studio. The front wall was a collection of multicolored distressed wood, a departure from the typical mirrored wall. I think that the lack of reflective material would make newcomers and yoga neophytes more comfortable.


Our instructor led us through a series of Vinyasas featuring Warrior and Triangle variations. I found the flow to be challenging and enjoyable. The warm temperature was surprisingly soothing and seemed to enhance my performance. Yes, as a fitness professional I do have fairly good flexibility and range of motion, but only in certain muscles and planes. My body’s theme song would be “Hips Don’t Lie”!

We finished on the mat with a few hip (yes!) stretches before final meditation. Again, the warm temperature allowed me to relax, something that I was not always able to do at my gym’s yoga classes because the air conditioning would sometimes kick in unexpectedly.

If you are hungry or thirsty after class, Priya sells healthy goodies from Pure Fare and Down Dog Healing Cafe.


So far I have taken five classes, all of them challenging but enjoyable. My goals are to prevent lower pain from scoliosis and to be able to gracefully hop from position to position!

Have you tried hot yoga? Please share your experiences in the comments!

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Mystery

Before I talk about everyone’s favorite seasonal beverage from everyone’s favorite coffee shop, let’s learn more about the pumpkin.

photo 1 (3)

The pumpkin is a fall favorite that is grown for ornamentation and savory dishes. What other vegetable can decorate your porch and plate?

photo 2 (7)

One cup of mashed pumpkin has 49 calories, is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium, a good source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also doesn’t have much taste (in my opinion. I’m more of a sweet potato gal myself, especially in pie). I think that the flavors people love is the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and let’s face it folks….. sugar.

photo (7)

Think about it: do you think customers would be frothing at the mouth for a piping hot beverage that tastes like vegetable soup? Doubt it.

A buddy of mine LOVES the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from Starbucks.

photo 3 (1)

At least she did until she read an expose by a healthy food blogger this summer. By now she would have had at least 50 PSLs, but has only consumed one this season.

The blogger revealed what was within the mega franchise’s signature white cup: NO REAL PUMPKIN!!! I was not shocked. Nor was I surprised to learn of the artificial colors, additives, etc. Did people think their Grandmother was in the back of the store whipping up homemade elixirs from her secret recipe box?

photo 2 (8)

By now I think that all of the PSL fans have forgotten about the nutritional controversy, or figured out how to recreate a more natural recipe at home!

Have you ever stopped eating/drinking something once you learned the caloric or nutritional value? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Ask Dr. Everett: Paleo Diet vs. South Beach Diet

Remember The South Beach Diet?


The popular weight loss plan was the brainchild of Dr. Arthur Agaston and named for South Beach, a hip and trendy area of Miami, Florida. The plan is lower in carbohydrates and higher in heart healthy fats (Dr. Agaston is a cardiologist) and protein than other lower calorie diets. The balance of the latter plus carbohydrates that have a lower glycemic index (foods that do not cause a dramatic spike to your blood sugar) is purported to be a plan that you can realistically follow for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

The South Beach Diet debuted in 2003. In 2014, we have the Paleo Diet. This eating plan is inspired by prehistoric eating habits.


A Paleo eating plan includes lean organic meats, vegetables and fruits, omega-rich fish, nuts and seeds and oils from nuts and seeds. Paleo enthusiasts do not consume dairy products, grains, legumes, sugar, salt potatoes and generally eschew all processed foods. The theory is that our bodies did not completely adapt to the modern diet which was created by farming, and that the “caveman menu” is better for preventing disease and obesity.

I asked Dr. Linda Everett of Everett Medical her opinion of the two diets.

The South Beach Diet

Dr. Everett likes the flexibility of the tropical inspired diet. “This plan offers more choices which makes it ideal for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Observational studies have shown that lower fat dairy products can help people lose weight and maintain weight loss. When people learn how replace high glycemic foods with lower glycemic ones, they are able to have more success dieting due to fewer cravings.”

The Paleo Diet

Dr. Everett feels the Paleo Diet has merit as well. “Some individuals have food allergies such as lactose-intolerance and gluten sensitivity, so eliminating dairy and grains from their diet can provide welcome relief from any negative symptoms from consuming those foods. However, the Paleo diet may be too restricting for some. Personally, I like to alternate between the South Beach and Paleo Diets. I may have a chicken breast with mango jalapeño salsa for breakfast, a whole wheat pita with hummus, sprouts, tomato and spinach for lunch and salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. A piece of extra dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth.”

If thats’s what the doctor ordered, I will take two!

Benefits of Fall Exercise Programs

Happy Fall everyone!


The Autumnal season brings cooler temperatures and shorter days. Shorter days means fewer hours of sunlight, which may have an effect on your mood. To beat the Fall “blues”, try exercising outdoors. If it was too hot during the summer to walk, cycle or play a team sport, the weather is perfect now. If you are new to exercise or trying a new activity, please consult your physician first.

Fall Into an Exercise Routine

According to a recent article on the Huffington Post, exercise can boost your endorphins, making you feel good, relieve stress and help you get a good night’s sleep.


How to Get Started With a New Exercise Routine

After you have obtained your physician’s clearance, set short and long term goals. Long time goals are usually accomplished by working on the short term goals. For example, if your long term goal is to increase your flexibility and core strength, your short term goal could be to do yoga and Pilates at least once or twice a week.


Be Smart About Exercise

Remember, when you are planning your Fall exercise routine, be SMART:

Specific: Is running or walking a 5K your goal? Then you should walk or run.
Measureable: To keep track of your progress, use a pedometer or activity tracker to measure how far you walk or run each session. Record your time and distance in a journal.
Attainable: Many times people set unrealistic goals, i.e. “I want to run/walk a 5K in 30 days.” Set yourself up for success with a goal that is reasonably challenging yet doable.
Relevant: A new walker or runner needs to train at least three times a week for two months to be able to do a 5K. Make sure you are willing to invest that amount of time.
Time limited goals: If you don’t create a sense of urgency, you won’t be motivated to achieve your goal. Sign up for a 5K three months before you begin your program.

Are you SMART about your fitness routine?

Healthy Fall Recipes

Tomorrow, September 23 is the first official day of winter fall!


Do not despair, we still have plenty of reasons to smile.


The Autumnal season means we can go on hay rides, wear cute cozy sweaters and enjoy healthy, savory fall dishes such as this one:

Photo: Johnny Autry, Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

This recipe for Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta calls for
crème fraîche, but you can use Greek yogurt instead to reduce calories and fat. Greek yogurt curdles with high temperatures, so make sure you do not overheat while preparing and avoid using aluminum cookware.

Doesn’t this look divine?

Photo: Johnny Autry

Add a fresh salad with kale and white beans to this chicken and roasted brussels sprouts dish for a nutrient and protein packed meal.

What is your favorite dish to eat in the Fall?