It’s Challenge Monday

Hi Friends!

It’s Challenge Monday folks! Lets get going guys!

Fitness Challenge

I challenge you to add some of my ramped up Jumping Jacks into your regular workout routine

Challenge Synopsis

  • Ramp up those plain jumping jacks with a few different variations I’m going to share with all of you 
  • Jumping Jacks is a great basic cardio exercise that everyone knows how to do
Why Why Why
  • Jumping jacks increase fast twitch muscle fibers
  • Jumping jacks target calfs, glutes, deltoids, and lats
  • Jumping jacks doesn’t build muscle it makes muscles more powerful
  • Jumping jacks are one of the best high intensity exercise that you can add to your exercise routine
  • Completing these different jumping jack variations, it will keep your workout fun but challenging 
  • Water
  • Willpower
  • A strong body & mind
  • A little extra time

Complete 25 
Ramped Up 
Jumping jacks 
4 times a day
Everyday this week

How to do a basic Jumping Jack
  • Stand straight up with feet together and arms at your sides
  • Slightly bend your knees and propel yourself a few inches into the air
  • While in air, bring legs out the side about shoulder width apart
  • As you move your legs outwards, raise arms up over your heads
  • Your feet should be shoulder width or wider as your hands meet close to your ears
  • Quickly jump back to step and repeat

Push Jacks

  • Stand straight up with feet together and arms at your sides

  • Slightly bend your knees and propel yourself a few inches into the air
  • While in air, bring legs out the side about shoulder width apart
  • As you move your legs outwards, push your hands out in front of you
  • Your feet should be shoulder width or wider as your hands meet about your heads
  • Quickly jump back to step and repeat

Squat Jacks 

  • Stand straight up with feet together and arms at your sides
  • Slightly bend your knees and propel yourself a few inches into the air
  • While in air, bring legs out the side about shoulder width apart
  • As you move your legs outwards, raise arms up over your heads
  • Your feet should be shoulder width or wider as your hands meet about your heads
  • Quickly jump back landing in a deep squat
  • These should be completed slowing

Ankle Jacks
  • Bend over touching your ankles 
  • Slightly bend your knees and propel yourself a few inches into the air, while keeping your body low
  • While in air, bring legs out the side about shoulder width apart
  • As you move your legs outwards, raise arms up over your heads
  • Your feet should be shoulder width or wider as your hands meet about your heads
  • Quickly jump back landing in a deep squat
  • These should be completed slowing

Star Jacks 

  • Bend over touching your ankles 
  • Slightly bend your knees and propel yourself a few inches into the air, while keeping your body low
  • While in air, bring legs out the side about shoulder width apart
  • As you move your legs outwards, raise arms up over your heads
  • Your feet should be shoulder width or wider as your hands meet about your heads
  • Quickly jump back landing in a deep squat
  • These should be completed slowing

My Take
I do my best to keep my workouts fun, interesting, and creative. Last week I wanted to boost up my jumping jacks game. Jumping jacks is an exercise that almost everyone can do, they do them regularly on the Biggest Loser. I had a challenging time completing sets of ankle jacks, star jacks, squat jacks and didn’t want to keep this much fun to myself. I don’t think you will be getting bored with jumping jacks any time soon

Nutrition Challenge

I challenge you to use cauliflower in creative 
ways this week

Challenge Synopsis
  • Use cauliflower in a creative ways next week
  • Replace your rice, pasta, potatoes, pizza crusts with cauliflower
Why Why Why 
  • Cauliflower has as much nutritional value as kale, broccoli, and cabbage
  • Cauliflower has natural phytonutrients, antioxidants, and gives your system a powerful jump start
  • The flavor and texture of cauliflower is unique and versatile
  • Cauliflower is a great substitute for low carb, gluten free, and grain free recipes
  • Cauliflower contains vitamin C, foliate, manganese, antecedents, phytonutrients, lowers the risk of oxidative stress in cells, lowers the risk factors of cancer, activates detoxification enzymes, anti-inflammatory effects, digestive and cardiovascular support
  • Cauliflower
  • A little imagination
  • Creative cauliflower recipes
  • Get creative and use this versatile ingredients to create healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Check out cauliflower recipes here
  • I will be posting fun cauliflower recipes on the blog this week like cauliflower pancakes, mashed cauliflower, cauliflower pizza, cauliflower popcorn, cauliflower cookies

My Take

I’m about 2 weeks away from my Costa Rica trip and I’m searching for any way to cut more calories out of my diet. 2 weeks ago I ate salad every night for dinner it was yummy but I can’t live off of salad alone. Last weekend got creative with cauliflower. It was so tasty my creations inspired this weeks nutrition challenge. Stay tuned for cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pancakes, and cauliflower cookies.  

Self-Improvement Challenge

I challenge you to do 1 drawing a day

I created this!!! 
It’s a Mary original!

Challenge Synopsis
  • Even if you can’t draw make it a point to draw something at least once a day for the next 7 days
Why Why Why
  • Drawing, no matter how well or terrible you draw, is a great way to get a break from reality
  • Drawing whatever you want give you a sense of control and relives stress
  • Drawing can help you think clearly and aid in overcoming many issues
  • By focusing on what you are drawing you to temporally forget the issues at hand
  • Art is one of the most commonly forms of communications around the world
  • There are a large variety of art therapies that have been proven to be beneficial to people 
  • Purchase a small sketch book
  • Purchase a few spare pencils, markets, pens, or whatever you like to draw with
  • Make sure to draw at least once a day
  • Enjoy creating new works of art and watch your drawing techniques improve from one day to the next
  • You’re drawing doesn’t have to be prefect or even good, just draw, sketch a tree, draw a few lines, do whatever you want to do 
My Take
I went to art school and I know the benefits of creating/drawing first hand. Drawing is a huge stress reliever for me, it has been for the last 15 years of my life. Whenever I need a break from the world or I am dealing with some serious issues drawing always helps me workout out these issues. 

That’s all today friends, 


Go Play in The Sun

Hi Friends, 

We made it, it’s Friday!!!

I’ve had a wonderful couple of days and I want to inspire all of you to get outside, enjoy some sun, and get active. Today’s post provides fun things to do outside.

  • Go on a Hike
  • Go Paddle Boarding
  • Fly a Kite
  • Take a Bike ride
  • Go skating or skate boarding
  • Make a sand castle
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Tackle some stairs
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Play a fun game of 
    • basketball
    • baseball
    • volleyball
    • soccer
    • tennis
If you want to get outside but don’t feel like being active this is the list for you

  • Go to a farmer’s market
  • Go to a flea market
  • Work in the garden
  • Have a picnic
  • Attend a fair or festival
  • Use an old sheet to create an oversize work of art
Benefits of Being Active

  • If you are active for 7 hours a week, your risk of dying early is 40% lower than someone active for less than 30 minutes a week
  • Hiking burns up to 370 calories an hour in a 154 lb person
  • Improved cardio-respiratory fitness heart, lungs, blood vessels
  • Improved muscular fitness
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of colon and breast cancer
  • Slower loss of bone density
  • Reduce depression and better quality sleep
  • Weight control

That’s all today!
Have a wonderful weekend


Salted Carmel Cupcakes

Hi Friends,

Yesterday was my Mother’s Birthday and we had a great day together.

She arrived at my house promptly at 9:30am. The first stop was a huge gut busting breakfast, then off to Muir Woods to hike through the redwoods and marvel at the beauty of nature.

After a few hours there, we headed back to the city to grab a leisurely lunch in Sausalito. The view is always beautify in the Sauce, Sausalito is the first town over the famous Golden Gate Bridge. If you ever find yourself in the Bay Area you would doing yourself an disservice not to visit this quaint little town. 

We spent the rest of afternoon stuffing our faces and talking about our past and what the future holds for both of us. I enjoy spending time with my mother, it’s almost like looking in a mirror, if I become half the woman she is I would be satisfied with my life. 

We were supposed to go to the Observatory of Flowers, but we ended up talking, reminiscing, and hangout until it was time for dinner. 

We both love crab, so we went to the best crab spot in the city, Thang Long. Each ordering and demolished 1 crab a piece. Today I made sure not to stress over my diet, her birthday was my official cheat say.  

After this loooong day together we were both pooped but the night wasn’t over yet. We went back to my house for some Salted Carmel Cupcakes, a night cap, and a little singing. I sent her off with a smile around 11pm and crashed right after she left. The women wore me out. 

I made the cup cakes myself and they were scrumptious. I’m sharing the recipe but I want you all to know these are not low fat, low calorie, or gluten free. These cupcakes are the real deal and worth ever bead of sweat I’m going to have to produce to work them off tomorrow.

Chocolate Salted Carmel Cupcakes

1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla 1 cup string coffee

For cup cakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
Line muffin tins

In a large bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, cacao, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Make sure to break up any clumps in this dry mixture

In another bowl combine milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, whisk together to combine

Add wet mixture to dry mixture

Add coffee and stir well until blended and smooth

Divide batter among cups and make for 20-25 minutes until spongy to touch

When done tip cupcakes in tins to allow steam to escape or remove cupcakes from tin and place on a wire rack

1/2 cup butter at room temp
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powder sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

Beat butter, brown sugar, syrup, vanilla until light and fluffy beat powdered sugar and milk

Add a little extra milk if needed to get the correct consistency

Allow frosting to chill

Spoon in pipping bag with large star tip or plastic bag cutting a small hole in one of the corners of the bag creating a makeshift frosting bag

Pipe frosting over cooled cupcakes
Don’t laugh at my piping job, this was my first time icing anything, lol

Salted Carmel

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water 
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp sea salt

Stir together sugar, water, lemon juice in small saucepan and place over med-high heat

When it comes to a boil stop stirring and swirl the pan often cooking until it turns a golden color. 

When it starts to change colors remove pan from heat but continue to swirl until mixture turns a deep golden color, the color of maple syrup 

Whisk in cream, it will foam up

Whisk salt and let cool to room temp

Place in sweet bottle and run bottle under hot water to make Carmel easier to spread 

Drizzle over cupcakes

Top with a pinch of sea salt

And kiss your diet goodbye!

That’s it day folks!

Melon Smoothies

Hi Friends,

I am incorporating more melon into my diet this week and hopefully so are all of you.

While looking through my cookbooks searching for some creative ways to incorporate melon into basic recipes it dawned on me, I’ve never had a melon smoothie, I’ve never made a melon smoothie. It seems like melons would be a wonderful smoothie base, they are juice, flavorful, sweet, and cheap, plus they are in season. 

I put my cookbook down right then and spent the next few hours coming up with some melon smoothies to share with all of you. 

I hope you enjoy them and decided to try a few yourself. 

Let’s Educate ourselves on the benefits of eating melon


  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamine
  • Niacin
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Healthy Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber 
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants
  • Carotenoids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Thiamin
  • Sodium
  • Protein
  • Fiber
Honey Dew
  • Helps maintain healthy skin, height, and weight
  • Helps prevent cramps during menstrual cycles
  • Helps prevent birth defects
  • High in “good” cholesterol
  • Fights dehydration
  • Fights against some cancers and diseases
  • Vitamin C
  • Protein
  • Sodium
  • Natural Sugar
  • Healthy Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Five
Here Come the Recipes:

None of these smoothies needed any liquid added, no almond milk or coconut water, the melon provides enough juiciness 

I used fresh ingredients for all of my smoothies, you can use frozen fruit if fresh fruit isn’t available

All smoothies are vegan, grain-free, nut free, dairy free, 
gluten free

Watermelon Smoothie

2 cups cubed watermelon
5 frozen strawberries
add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

Watermelon Apple Smoothie

2 cups seedless watermelon
1 apple
1 pear

add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

Cantaloupe Berry Smoothie

2 cups cantaloup, peeled, seeded, cubed
1/2 cups greek yogurt
1 cup raspberries
2 tbs maple syrup

add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

Cantaloupe Grape Smoothie

2 cups cantaloup, peeled, seeded, cubed
1 cup red seedless grapes
2 cups kale
1/4 cup coconut water

add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

Honeydew Kiwi Smoothie

2 cups cubed honeydew
1 small apple, peeled, cored and cut up
1 kiwi peeled and cut up
2 tbs agave nectar
1 tbs lemon juice

add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

Honeydew Mint Smoothie
2 cups honeydew cubed
2-3 fresh mint leaves
1 banana
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth

All of these smoothies are delectable it was hard to pick my favorite one. Maybe the Cantaloupe + Berry Smoothie or the Honeydew + Mint Smoothie, it’s hard to make up my mind.

Which ever smoothie you choose all of them are natural energy boosters, who doesn’t need an extra kick!

That’s all today friends

Challenge Monday

Hi Friends!
It’s Challenge Mondays again!

Fitness Challenge
I challenge you to complete my yoga abs workout 3-4 days this week 

Challenge Synopsis

  • Complete my yoga abs workout 3-4 days this week
  • This is a slow and controlled workout routine that requires no equipment
Why Why Why
  • Yoga ab exercises look easy but they are not
  • Every yoga movement requires well developed abdominals as well as a strong back
  • Instead of completing 100s of crunches this workout focuses on abdominals strength and flexibility at the same time
  • Water
  • Exercise mat
  • Will power
  • Strong mind and body
Complete as many reps as possible in 60 seconds 
complete 4 rounds of this exercise 

Plank Pike 

Targets entire body
Starting in plank position feet slightly higher than hip width apart, abdominals always engaged
Engages your abdominals as you lift your hips up in the air, pressing chest back towards thighs, like an upside down V
Return to start
Complete as many as possible in 60 seconds

Make Take
My trip to Costa Rica is getting closer and closer as the days fly by and I have to be bikini ready. I do a lot of abdominal work, while sprinkling in yoga to my everyday routines. Instead of the no pain no gain mentality, yoga moves are mostly slow and controlled which tend to challenge my entire body. This exercise looks easy but it is not, get ready to tone up your entire body with one full body move.

Nutrition Challenge
I challenge you to eat more melon this week

Challenge Synopsis
Eat at least one serving of fresh melon every day this week

Why Why Why 
  • Melons contain antioxidants vitamins and minerals
  • Melons help prevent: 
    • certain cancers 
    • birth defects 
    • high blood pressure 
    • heart disease 
    • prostate cancer 
    • obesity 
    • colon cancer 
    • common colds 
    • the flu
    • can help improve a poor digestive system
Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honey dew

  • EAT at least one serving of melon a day for the next 7 days
  • Get creative by putting them in salads, smoothies, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks

My Take
I defiantly don’t eat as much melon as I should, this week I’m taking this challenge on with all of you guys. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the health and beauty benefits that eating melon provides. I will be featuring some melon recipes on my blog this week

Self Improvement Challenge
I challenge you to take 1 class this week in a subject that interests you

Challenge Synopsis
Find classes in your area with subject you are interested in

Why Why Why
  • Research shows participating in a class you are interested at an older age sparks your creativity and helps builds self esteem and confidence
  • Everyday we grow older and our interest and dreams usually get pushed to the back burner
  • Joining a class and learning a new skill or talent allows you to get out of your comfort zone 
  • You will never evolve into the person you were born to become until you pursue your interests, goals, and dreams 
  • An open mind
  • A little extra time
  • Find classes in your area by visiting or other organizational websites
  • Look for classes the interest at you like: painting sculpting drawing public speaking knitting writing book club etc
  • After you find your dream class actually attend 
My Take
Over the years I’ve pushed myself into uncomfortable situations and I’ve only become a better person for it. This week I plan on attending a knitting class that I’ve been putting off for the last few years. I love knitting but I need help creating harder designs and patterns. Instead of giving up and continuing to make scarfs for the rest of my life I found a knitting class less than 3 minutes away from my house. They have a free class every Tuesday where they teach you how to create different patterns and help you with harder designs. This is right up my alley. If I can improve my knitting techniques I can give away some beautiful hand knitted creations for Christmas this year, and I’m looking forward to that. 

That’s it today folks, 


Crayon Craft

Hi Friends,

It’s Friday, we doing crafts with crayons. This project is great for kids, teenagers, and adults. So what is it already????

Crayon Art!!!

I’ve used this method before, it was so fun my “non crafting” boyfriend helped me with it.

I used this sign for a Chili Cook Off I participated in last year. It took me 4-5 different attempts to get it right, now I’m a crayon art expert. 

It should only take you 1 hour to create this masterpiece. I hope you enjoy this tutorial.

 Crayon Art

What you need:
Lots of Crayons
Blank Canvas – can be found at local craft store
Glue gun
Embossing Heat tool or Hairdryer 

Draw a small heart in the middle of you canvas
Take your time, keep trying until you draw it close to perfect, this took me about 5 minutes, lol

Hot glue crayons
 tips facing in pointing to the boarder of your heart 
Make sure to switch up the colors
Brighter colors work better with this project

Line your working surface with a thick black garbage bag, crayons shouldn’t splatter but they do drip

**Caution while melting the crayons make sure not to touch the wax, it will be very very hot. I have burned myself in the past

Now comes the fun part:

Melt the crayons, holding the embossing heat tool or hairdryer at least 10 inches away from crayons
Aim for the bottom of the crayons while tilting canvas letting gravity do all the work. 

Once your crayons get warm the wax will start to pour out, use the hair dyer to push the wax around covering as much as the canvas as you can
If crayons splatter you are holding the heating tool too close to the canvas

Rotate the canvas until all the crayons are melted and your happy with your design. Wax dries in seconds so clean up should be simple.

You have created a one-of-a-kind Crayon Masterpiece

That’s it folks!
Enjoy your weekend!

My Trip to the Conservatory of Flowers

Hi Friends,

I’ve had a killer week thus far, enjoying healthy desserts, pushing myself harder than ever during my workouts, and making sure to eat clean puts me in an optimistic and ebullient mood. I’ve been redesigning this website to make it more user friendly. There are a few more tweaks to get done, but so far so good, I haven’t received any negative feedback yet.

My boyfriend, the best boyfriend in the world, took me on an afternoon date, last week, to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, and I’m still mesmerized by all the impressive flowers and the “Chop” exhibition.

The entry fee was only 8 bucks and there were awards posted for “Best First Date in San Francisco”, how exciting??? The Conservatory is an old white Victorian type building busting at the seams with plants and exotic flowers. Before you enter the space you already feel as if you are in an enchanted forest, far far far away from the every day hustle and bustle of the city. All of the stress I’ve been under seemed to melt away as soon as I walked into the building.

Do I look happy????

Upon entire you hand a nice lady your tickets and follow the crush red velvet rope into a overstuffed room filled from floor to ceiling with colorful plants and intimidating greenery. There are exhibits on each side of this large main room. Each room has its own theme from lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, and the special “Chomp” exhibit.

Walking, exploring, and discovering new plants and flowers can’t help but put you in a tranquil romantic mood. My boyfriend hates PDA and I love it, surprisingly halfway through the tour he grabbed my hand and held it tight, I even got a few kisses.

The featured exhibit “Chop” showcases carnivorous plants like Venus fly traps and pitcher plants. The Venus fly traps were so big I was almost intimated, noticed I said almost.

Enjoy few of my favorite pictures, I took over 100 pictures in the first 20 minutes. So much to document, so little time.

It’s raining in here!!!

Tips for visiting the Conservatory of Flowers
* Each room is set to a different temperature depending on the exhibit, try to wear layers, it gets pretty hot in there

* Don’t be afraid of a little water, the plants are watered every 2-3 minutes, you will get wet, not soaking wet, but wet
*Every first Tuesday is free monthly

That’s all today folks
Tomorrow we are crafting!!!

Watermelon Granita

It’s summer time, I like sweet stuff, lets make some kinda of frozen treat. 

I know all the old tricks:

  • Place a Popsicle stick in a single size serving of yogurt, freeze 
  • Make a smoothie and freeze in a Popsicle shaped trays
  • Mix fresh fruit with yogurt, freeze for 20 minutes and enjoy

There are more, but why go on and on and on. Today we are trying something new. Something I’ve never tried before. I’m still on my vegan, raw, trip, after yesterdays scrumptious peanut butter cups. Today we are making Watermelon Granita, it only requires 3 ingredients and it’s a great substitute for high calorie, high fat ice cream. 

Before I can dive into this recipe lets figure out what Granita actually is, unless you already know, because I did not. 

Grainta is a course Italian style flavored ice, or drink made with crush ice

This makes sense, no adding dairy or needs of ice cream machines, we are basically making fruit sweetened frozen ice

Watermelon Grainta
recipe adapted from
Makes 6 servings – 40 cals per serving – 1g fat

4 cups (1-3/4 pounds) cubed watermelon
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs fresh lime juice
Small wedge of watermelon for garnish

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth

    Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth

    Pour into metal baking pan

    Freeze for 1 hour
    Take out of freezer after one hour, and mash any frozen juice with back of fork, making grainta a slushy consistency

      Cover and refreeze juice until firm – about 2 hours

      Using a fork, scrap granita vigorously to form icy flakes

        Can be made up to 3 days ahead

        Cover tightly with foil 
        keep frozen scrape before serving

        That’s all today folks!

        Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

        Hi Friends!

        I love chocolate and I love peanut butter, it only makes sense that I love peanut butter cups. Since I’m eating clean, peanut butter cups are not allowed in my current diet. Never one to feel defeated, I’ve been scouring the internet for a healthy peanut butter cup recipes and I finally found one. This recipe only requires 4 ingredients. The recipe is raw which means no cooking needed, all you need is 30 minutes and you can create and devour guilt free peanut butter cups.

        Raw Vegan Easy Peanut Butter Cups

        For Peanut Butter Bottoms

        3/4 cup organic Peanut Butter
        1 tbs organic Grade B Maple Syrup
        2 tbs organic Coconut oil (melted)

        For Chocolate Top
        1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
        2 tbs organic Grade Maple Syrup
        1/4 cup organic Coconut oil (melted)

        • In medium size bowl combine peanut butter, maple syrup, & liquid coconut oil (melt if needed) 
        • Stir until well combined
        • Drop a spoonful at a time into muffin cups until they are approximately 1/2 full
        • Put cups in freezer for at least 15 minutes or until hardened

        Chocolate Topping
        • In medium size bowl combine raw cacao, maple syrup, and liquid coconut oil (melt if needed) 
        • Stir until well combined
        • Drop a spoonful at a time on top of the frozen harden peanut butter in muffin cups
        • Put into freezer for at least 15 minutes or until hardened

        *Keep in freezer until served because they will melt and lose their shape at room temperature

        These raw vegan peanut butter cups are boyfriend and diet approved. They literally melt in your mouth and in your hands. Make sure to keep them in the freezer or they will melt. 

        The recipe is super easy to follow and the finish product is almost unbelievable. 

        Try these Try these Try These!!!