Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Let's Trick-or-Treat!

To All the Trick-or-Treaters, Young, Old, and Goblins In-Between!

May you get out there, ring actual doorbells, knock on real-doors, and encounter real people, just like many of us did when we were kids.

For those who worry that “It’s no longer safe” to do that. Let this brilliant article by Lenore “Free-Range Kids” Skenazy put your nerves at ease and allow you to foster some happy self-assured resilient kids.


PS-Best candy, Reese’s Cups, no ifs, ands’ or buts


Friday, October 27, 2017

Interview with Female MMA Fighter, Amanda Miller

First things first, thanks for taking the time talk with me, Mandy!

Thank you so much for the invite and the questions.  You came up with some great questions thank you for taking the time to come up with them and the blog.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe I have heard Coach Chris Martindale of The Dawg House Gym refer to you as the most decorated female martial artist in West Virginia, is that correct?

Yes, He has been known to refer to me as that lol.

How long have you been training martial arts?

I have been training for 15 years.

What arts do you train?

Wow! Well I have trained in several different styles of martial arts: Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan Karate.  Ju-Jitsu,  Boxing,  Kickboxing, Wrestling, Judo, Aikido, Muay Thai those are the ones I can think of as of right now.

What got you interested?

I started my son in karate class when he was 5 years old.  The instructor's wife talked me into taking a class, and after I got through the basics I fell in love with it.

Now, Mixed Martial arts, or MMA, is about as rough as it gets. Allow me to ask, why do you do it?

For me it is a passion.  I just have a love for the competition and the sport it keeps me centered.

Is there something in particular that made you want to take a fight?

Yes.  when I had my first fight I was soul searching.  After my first fight I realized it made me feel alive or human again.  See at the time I was in a marriage that was both mentally and physically abusive.  Not many people know this and it's something I didn't talk about but over the past 5 years I have been able to open up about it some.  but for the blog I will say that the fighting and the training always gave me something to look forward to.

What were your thoughts before your first fight?

Scared to death!  But lots of emotions fear being one.  a huge adrenaline rush.  "Can I do this?"  "What am I doing?"  "Ok let's do this!!!"  I literally couldn't sit still before I entered the cage.

Have you lost a fight?  If so, what kept you motivated to get back in the cage? I mean some of us get upset if they fall off of a diet, my guess is that getting back in there where there is actual physical risk is altogether different.

Yes. I have lost fights. My motivation is the passion for the sport and the competition.  And yes, I am my worst critic. always questioning: Am I good enough? Did I train enough?  What happened? What went wrong? Watching and re-watching the fight to see my mistakes where I could improve or where I should have done this instead of that. I put so much time and energy into training camps that it takes a hard mental-toll even more than a physical one

Knowing how hard you work, does it sometimes get a little annoying to hear people go on about how “tough” their day is?

No not really. I think with the world we live in today everyone has their "tough" days. Everyone's lifestyle is different and really, I just like to try to lift people's spirits, because really we never know what someone is dealing with on a daily basis.

Do you prefer to train with men or women, or does it even matter?

It doesn't matter really, well as long as the men can leave their egos outside the gym doors. I have been injured in training by a couple of men training partners with ego issues.  Ones not wanting a woman to get the best of them or tap them out. But I do have several men training partners that are awesome and know just how to push me but not overdo it. Heck most of the time I am the only "chick" in the gym lol.

What's your take on making weight?

The whole weight thing is awful. There needs to be more weight classes. everyone is built different. I work out so much that it makes me carry more muscle. and I'm sure everyone is aware that it weighs more than fat. so I always end up starving and doing the sauna suit in the gym-training and in the sauna.  It's so hard on the body both physically and mentally

What does Tim think of your fighting?

He supports me 110% he always finds the time to make it to the gym to watch me train, and he is even one of my training partners throughout my training camps.  He says he loves to watch me fight win or lose.

What fighters, male or female, do you admire and why?

Meisha Tate. she is the reason for women's MMA being where it is today.  She is and always will be the people's champ. She has an amazing heart and she is always humble win or lose. I'm not sure why, but I just always stay in shape and in training and wait for what's offered next.

What’s next for you in your fighting/martial arts career?

Personal Trainer. I have gotten so hooked on the healthy lifestyle that I would love to make everyone healthy (and I said healthy not skinny).  I do have a few people that I work with but if I had the time I would love to have my license and do it all the time.

In speaking to a friend or someone at home now who doesn't work out yet, what's the one thing you would tell them to do to get started without having to make any purchases or get a gym membership?

To get started one doesn't need a gym really.  Diet and portion control is a huge part of it all. Start tracking calories, cut out carbs. increase vegetables and fruits, and foods high in protein chicken, fish, etc. Start with walking or jogging 30 minutes a day and build from there. Set small goals for yourself so you don't get frustrated. And there are so many workouts you can do by just using your own body push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, stretching, and the list goes on.

Thank you so much for your time, it's been an honor!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Interview with Josefa Gonzalez-Hastings, Master of Cuban Cuisine

This interview will make your mouth-water! Josefa Gonzalez-Hastings, the owner/proprietor, master of Cuban food at The Habana Café in St. Pete beach, Florida, and award-winning author of the The Habana Café Cookbook was kind enough to take the time to pass along some of her wisdom AND a recipe or two.

First things first, your food and your restaurant are simply amazing! My husband and I travel to St. Pete at least twice a year and always make it a point to come by for a meal at least twice; when possible we invite friends along who have never been there. Everyone we’ve taken has always raved. So, thank you for the delicious food.
I also want to thank for autographing a copy of your cookbook for me. Your book The Habana Café Cookbook is used at least once per week around our house. It won the Gourmand Award for best cookbook in its class. How did it feel to receive such an honor?

It didn’t seem real!  I was there and when they called out my name it’s like I didn’t even hear it.  My husband had to nudge me & said “What are you doing?”  “Get up there, you won.”  It was such a moment that will always be with me.

Cuban cuisine is a blend of so many cultures, so many flavors: Spanish, African, Chinese, Indian and one can sense that in your recipes and in the restaurant. And yet, often when I visit other Cuban establishments the meals seem centered around black beans, rice, yucca, and plantain only. Is it important to you to show the wider influence in your food?

Yes! Although I have a lot of traditional dishes I also like to put in some fusion.  Some of the most popular dishes – i.e. Summer Dill Chicken and Champagne Chicken are my creations that have nothing to do with Cuban food.

Your book lets us see how deep an influence family has been, and is on your life. How much of your cooking would you say is directly influenced by family? Old family recipes? Cooking technique? That sort of thing.

My influence is All family! No doubt about it.  My mom and her sisters always loved cooking and always made it fun.  Cooking was a past time not a chore.

If you met someone who said, “I don’t really like Cuban food” what meal would you prepare to change their mind?

 It would either be the roast pork or a paella even if it’s more of a Spanish dish that Cuban.

What meal do you never get tired of preparing?


You offer so many delicious desserts do you have a favorite among them?

 Cream cheese flan!

Are you still developing new recipes, or do you find that you simply hone your standard work to make it better and better?

 Yes, always coming up with new things.  Will run them as specials.

You being the expert in Cuban cuisine, if you were not allowed to cook Cuban food anymore, what other cuisine would you choose to master? Italian? Chinese? What?

 Italian, my second favorite food!

I would like to post one recipe from your book on the blog to let people try it themselves to see how amazing your work is. Which recipe would you select for them to try?

 I would go with the roast pork and the paella and for dessert I would go with the cream cheese flan.

Thank you so much for your time; it’s been an honor. I look forward to the next time I sit at one of the tables in the Habana Café and eat the best Cuban cuisine I’ve ever eaten.

If you ever find yourself in Tampa or the Tampa Bay area, do yourself a favor and take the time to visit this amazing place.

And whether you go or not, her cookbook is simply amazing. Why not sample some of her creations in your own home?

Live out loud!

Eat well doing it!

As for the recipes she mentioned, here’s the one for her delicious Roast Pork. If you want the recipes for her Paella and Cream Cheese Flan, put your money where your mouth is and support Josefa’s creativity while doing it.


4 to 6 pound Boston butt

4 Seville oranges, juiced

½ c olive oil

4 Tbsp Badia complete seasoning

4 Tbsp garlic, minced

4 Tbsp dried basil

4 Tbsp dried oregano

4 Tbsp onion powder

2 cups Chablis

½ c water

1 bottle Goya mojo criollo or Badia mojo marinade

Rinse pork butt and put in a large roasting pan.

In a large bowl, mix all other ingredients together with a whisk.  Pour half of this mixture over the butt, turn it over, and pour remaining mixture over the other side.

Cook butt fat side down and covered with aluminum foil.  Cook at 350 degrees for 3 ½ to 4 hours, depending on size.  When pork butt is done, the bone should easily pull out.

To make extra mojo sauce, in a medium saucepan put all of the sauce ingredients above, except use only 1 cup of Chablis and do not use any water.  Bring to a boil.

NOTE: Do not use dripping from the pan for the mojo sauce.       8 servings

Monday, October 23, 2017

Too Old?

Grandma Moses started painting when she was 78-years old.

Jane Soeten was still playing basketball well into her 80s. [That’s her performing an under the leg dribble.]

Penny Starr Sr. is still performing burlesque in her 80s well into a 60-year career. Why? She says, “I love to dance.” This photo shows her dancing; her granddaughter has proudly picked up the sexy, vibrant baton.

My grandfather didn’t take up deer-hunting until well into his 60s.

My husband drove his first Demolition Derby at the age of 52.

Have you ever been asked to do something, or wanted to do something but thought to yourself “Nah, I’m too old to start now”?

I’ve said some variation to myself in the past, “It’s a little late to start something like this” or “Maybe if I were younger.”

Then I see people like this who live life till the very end and am reminded of a piece of advice that Wayne Dyer offered to anyone who said, “I’m too old to do that.”

He would say, “It’s not how old you are that matters, but how much living you do while you’re whatever age you are.”

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Experiential Scavenger Hunt: Guzzling Hot Sauce and Bleu Cheese Dressing

Occasionally my friends and I challenge our male counterparts to do weird or wild stunts.  They in turn offer us a list of things to achieve, if we dare.  Guys and girls separate in the morning and see how many tasks we can or are willing to accomplish, take photographic or video evidence and meet up at the end of the day to tally scores and earn bragging rights.  These photos show me and a couple of my daring compadres, Alex and Megan, guzzling from a bottle of bleu cheese dressing and some hot sauce.

How did it taste?  What do you think?  BTW--We WON that day!!

Women In Sports

I'm late on this, but it's exciting news to me all the same.  These good folks recommended my book, She's Tough: Extreme Fitness for Women, among many other good books.  It's gratifying to be in such fine company.

Chances Are, You're Beautiful!

In case you didn’t know, the woman in the photo is actress Lupita Nyong’o. She won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in the film 12 Years a Slave.
This is not a celebrity musing but I did want to use Lupita and some interesting comments she made to Glamour about growing up in Kenya to, perhaps, teach us a little something about ourselves.
As a young girl in Kenya, Lupita has stated that she felt anything but attractive—again, look at that photo-the reason for her belief was her dark skin.
She says, “European standards of beauty plague the entire world-the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. Africa is no exception. When I was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, ‘Where are you going to find a husband? How are going to find someone darker than you?’ I was mortified.”
She recalls that she often saw skin-lightening cream commercials on television, “I remember a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten the skin and gets the job! This is the message: dark skin is unacceptable.”
Again, look at Lupita’s photo.
Now, replace dark skin with any word that currently makes you think less of your appearance: weight, the size of your thighs, your butt, your breasts, your smile, your nose, your whatever.
Chances are, like Lupita, you are just fine. Admittedly many of us may not possess a classical beauty in the realm of Lupita’s but let’s ponder the fact that even a beautiful woman can get inside her own head to such a degree that she can play the comparison game and render a portion of her life less than happy.
Lupita’s antidote to her categorizing herself as less than beautiful was “Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things that I wanted to do, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility.”
That is a prescription that can work for all of us as well. There is no necessity to change who we are before we start living our lives, we should live right now being who we are and embracing what we look like. Follow in Lupita’s footsteps, find women, and images of women who look like you doing the things you want to do, and remind yourself that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Use these women who resemble you as your comparison group, not some cadre of ladies who look nothing like you. If you are down on your size find yourself some gorgeous, so-called plus-size models, look at them reveling in their beauty learn something from their aspect.
I guarantee you that there are others out there who look very much like you who are unapologetically embracing who they are living fulfilling lives, look to them and learn to look at yourself with that same appreciative eye.

Embarrass Yourself, Cherish Yourself, Impress Yourself

Greetings Free Spirits!
If you’re like me you’re getting a little weary of political posts, boring poster shares, thumbing “Like” on other people’s adventures, and lives where the most important questions of the weekend are which shows to binge-watch or what sporting event of other people doing things should I sit down and paste my eyes upon.
How about DOING something?
 How about doing something FUN together?
With that in mind, I have started this blog.
What’s it about?
Well, doing stuff. What kind of stuff?
I don’t know, all sorts of things.
I’ll offer my own accounts of small personal adventures and weird personal experiments. Some of them mild [cooking brand new recipes found in a historical cookbook just to see what meals were like back then], some of them wild [what it’s like to run a Naked 5K] some of them simply “I wonder what that’s like?” [eating an entire meal blindfolded.]
I’ll also be talking with, interviewing and pointing at other doers. People who have the guts and gumption to get up and GO!
We’ll meet Food Truck Entrepreneurs who put it all on the line because they believe in their recipes, a lovely young White-Water River guide who is having a go at starting her own energy bar, housewives/moms by day, burlesque dancers by night, and other people who are not satisfied with the same-o, day-in and day-out routine.
Occasionally I will offer a Personal Challenge to wake us all up a little and allow you to fly your own freak-flag as freaky mild or wild as you like.
These can range from “You have your own meal blindfolded and provide a photo” or “Get a photo of you holding the biggest dog that you can find” or “Do a cartwheel in a public place.”
Really, they could be anything. The point is, you do the weird thing, you do the fun thing, you have the experience and you are free to share it here, and we share together.
If this sounds up your alley, well, glad to have you! Welcome aboard!
I look forward to sharing my own and others’ wild, weird, daring, dangerous, and fun experiences with you, and I look forward to seeing and hearing about some of your adventures as well!


A Conversation with Chef Paul Deiana-Molnar

First, thanks for talking to me, Paul. Full-disclosure, one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten was prepared by you—so thank you again for th...