Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A must read.

I never really sympathized with a person, when speaking of a book, has said, "I couldn't put it down." I've always thought that was an overused cliche someone uses when they want to sound like they read a lot. You know. To impress you with their ability to read books quickly and with haste. I've never read a book that I literally couldn't take out of my hands and put on my night stand to go to sleep. Sleep has always taken priority over reading a novel. Well, things have changed my friends.

If you haven't had the privilege of reading this book, I implore you to do so. I can honestly say I read this book in the wee hours of the morning after feeding my baby because, well, I couldn't stop thinking about it. The story was consuming my mind. A book so intriguing, I would insist on discussing its contents with everyone, including the grocer at the super market. That's a slight exaggeration. But in all seriousness, it made my top five. Right up there with Into the Wild and The Road.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a truly gripping story of a WWII vet that survived a plane crash and 42 days at sea in a flimsy raft only to get captured by the Japanese. He then becomes a POW in some of the worst prisoner camps during WWII. Albeit a startling and horrific story, it details a man's mind-boggling will to survive, his later miraculous transformation, and his ability to forgive. Great, great book.

Protagonist, Louie Zamperini.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What once was, now has been replaced.

Our dog has inexplicably become the red-headed step child. What once was the apple of our eye, has now hastily taken the back seat in the Blackburn house-hold. One might ask how such a travesty can occur. My answer to you is a 12 pound, eating, pooping, keep her mommy and daddy on their toes, machine. Her name is Emery. And she has taken over our lives. One diaper change at a time.

Emery came to this world October 24, in true overly dramatic, movie-like fashion. After a 34 hour labor, and an hour of pushing with forceps, she finally decided to grace us through a C-section. Her mommy wasn't ecstatic about the news of surgery, but was grateful nonetheless for her safe arrival. The first words emanating from the doctor as he pulled her out of my tummy, were "Wow, she's a huge baby!" That she was. All nine pounds seven ounces of her.

Before it was time to push, Emery decided remaining posterior (face-side up)was the only way she would attempt the birth canal. After an hour of coaxing and in reality trying to force her out, we all knew it was not going to happen safely. We pulled the plug and I came to grips with the fact that I wouldn't, in actuality, be giving birth. Despite my utter gratitude for her health and safety, I somehow felt inadequate as a mother. In this situation, I couldn't by any means give birth the natural way. It was disheartening, but in the grand scheme of things, it really didn't matter. I had a beautiful, dark-haired baby girl and I was happy. Besides, I dealt with a horrendous pregnancy for a while, so I guess that in itself makes up for my lack of birthing skills.

The next hurdle was breast-feeding. Truth be told, no one informed me of the frustrations nursing has to offer. I assumed your milk comes in the day you give birth, that your baby latches on right out of the womb, and that the natural feeding system is stress free and easy as pie. Boy, was I mistaken. After attempting to throw in the towel numerous times, I decided to stick it out no matter what it took. After all, I had a C-section and was not about to fail at nursing.

The nursing plight became a thing of the past, and baby and I were well on our way to a successful feeding relationship. I was once again a well-equipped mother.

Emery is gracefully aging into a post-newborn. She is almost 8 weeks and continually shows signs of contentment such as smiling, cooing, gurgling and adorably kicking her legs. As each week passes, she miraculously develops into an older, wiser, and more mature infant. Her progression is quite astonishing and sometimes I find myself wishing she would stay just where she is. A cuddly, squirmy, sack of potatoes.

Although our dog's walks and morning cuddle sessions are no longer to her liking, we still love her and consider her an integral part of our family. Emery and Stella will one day undoubtedly become best friends.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Belly pic, oh my!

While being bored on a Friday night waiting for my hubby to get home from a work trip, I decided I better post a 9 month pic of my GINORMOUS belly. The picture is horrible but it will have to do. I have less than four weeks until this baby decides to debut. Kinda freaking out. Not gonna lie.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I miss.

I miss mountain biking.

I miss road biking.

I miss cute clothes.

I miss weekend camping trips full of river rafting and biking.

I miss eating like a normal person.

I miss a good night's rest.

I miss my old life.

Despite my "feeling sorry for myself" state, I know it will all be worth it when we welcome this little nugget.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 months

22 weeks and counting

Feeling baby girl kick, getting more intense with each day

Hungry every hour

Still taking one 1/2 phenergan at bed time

Tapering off the mountain biking

Anxious for her to get here

Find myself crying every time I see a baby born on t.v. (TLC's "A baby story")

Feeling this weird and unrecognizable instinct (I think they call it "maternal instinct")

So grateful every day for a healthy baby growing inside with a hard working husband at home

Four more months to go before I'm a real mamma

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's a girl!

And I couldn't be more ecstatic. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tap Water? Never Again.

If you haven't heard already I would definitely take a look at the article below from Good Morning America. A recent environmental group conducted a study to find a carcinogen Chromium 6 in our drinking water. Shockingly, they found the chemical in 31 of 35 cities involved in the study. Salt Lake being one of them. What's more alarming is that Brita water filters don't work, which means you have to buy one of those expensive $300+ water filtrations systems that is installed into your sink. But, I have found an inexpensive water filter that filters all chemicals including Chromium 6 out of tap water. It's called ZeroWater. You can buy it at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond.

I'm not usually a huge campaigner for random products, but I feel pretty passionate about this, because most people I talk to have no idea that this chemical is chillin in their drinking water. After long term exposure the carcinogen is known to cause cancer. Anyway, just thought I'd pass along this tid bit of information. I will never drink our tap water again!!

Click here to read article

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

October will be a special month

I couldn't keep it in any longer. I have been dying to complain about the morning sickness, puking, food aversion, and constipation. These sound too similar to pregnancy symptoms? Well, it's because they are.

Dennis and I finally decided to pull the trigger and start a family. I am 12 weeks pregnant today, and figured it's time to the let the cat out of the bag. Pregnancy has brought a variety of emotions, moods and feelings, including anxiety, fear, elation, joy and a little depression. When we first learned we were pregnant, the day before our 2nd year anniversary, I was in shock. We had been trying for a few months so I anticipated a negative pregnancy test. But when that second line showed up, I couldn't believe it and took three more tests that day. All positive. It was crazy.

Now three months into my gestation, I have not only accepted that I'm pregnant but have embraced it with all the nausea and puking. When friends and family have complained about pregnancy before, I always thought to myself "What a bunch of babies. Really, it's that bad?" Now being completely immersed in the symptoms, I can confidently say, yes. It is that bad.

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to be pregnant and to be able to get pregnant with relative ease. But I'm not going to sugar coat it. Being pregnant is hard. I know for some it really isn't that bad. I guess I'm not one of those lucky ones. It has been hard waking at at 5:15 am to teach my pilates class, all the while trying not to puke. It's been hard to muster the motivation and strength some days to get off the couch and go grocery shopping. I now look at people with more than one kid, and wonder, how in the world did you put yourself through another pregnancy?? An answer to that question came from my sister-in-law. The body somehow releases a hormone that enables your mind to forget the pregnancy symptoms. I think that sounds like a myth. I think women are just masochists.

Another interesting symptom is food aversion. Yes complete aversion to all and any food. I also remember a friend of mine relating her experience of her distaste for food during her first trimester. What? That doesn't make sense. Oh but it does now. It's interesting and kind of a cruel joke, to be hungry every two hours but dislike anything that goes into your mouth. It's like food has suddenly become tasteless. There are so many times when I have eaten a Cafe Rio salad only to think, "I remember when this salad was amazing." I hope to get there again one day.

I'm approaching my second trimester and I'm banking on feeling the second trimester "high". Apparently it's the trimester when you feel your best, have more energy and actually start showing instead of looking like you've eaten too many donuts. I'm excited for this phase and can only hope that the nausea will subside. The day it does, I'm going to celebrate by doing something awesome. A cartwheel perhaps.

Pregnancy is not all bad. This past week, especially, I have been really, really excited to be a mom. I keep thinking about the day we deliver and how amazing it will be to see our baby come into the world. We bought our first baby item. A baby hiking backpack from the REI garage sale. We got a killer deal. Can't wait to take junior Ash or Denny on his/her first hike up to Dog Lake with his/her big sister Stella. It will be marvelous.

Oh and in case you were wondering, I am putting a pregnancy countdown button on my page. Yeah so cheesy, and judge me all you want.:)

Little baby around 12 weeks...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Welcome March with Pilates

March is right around the corner and there's no better time to get in shape so you can show off that beach body come this summer!

Those of you that haven't had the opportunity to try pilates, probably wonder what the benefits are and what makes it different than yoga or just a regular workout. I found these benefits and they really ring true.

With regular committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:

Improve strength, flexibility and balance
Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
Condition efficient patterns of movement making the body less prone to injury
Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through deep stretching
Restore postural alignment
Create a stronger, more flexible spine
Promote recovery from strain or injury
Increase joint range of motion
Improve circulation
Heighten neuromuscular coordination
Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
Improve the way your body looks and feels

PIlates is truly an amazing workout that leaves your body and mind feeing rejuvenated and at ease.

I have picked up quite a few more classes so hopefully one or two of them will work with your schedule. I'm still offering the first class free. You will love pilates, just give it a try!

Below is my class schedule and prices. Remember to text, call or email to reserve your spot as there are only 6 spots per class. If you are interested in private or duet sessions let me know. If none of these times work for you, call or text me and we can figure out a time that would work for you!


7 am: Group reformer
4:30 pm: Group Reformer

3:30 pm: Group reformer

5:45 am: Group reformer
4:30 pm: Group reformer

5:45 am: Group reformer

5:45 am Group Reformer
7 am: Group Reformer

8 am Group Reformer

**24 Hour Cancellation Policy

First class FREE!!
5 pack for $90 ($18/class)
10 pack for $150 ($15/class)

King Studio:
1400 Foothill Dr. suite #228
Salt Lake CIty
(on the second floor in the south west corner of Foothill Village--above Steinmart)

Thanks everyone!! I hope to see you soon!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Lone Star State

Dennis and I will be venturing off to Dallas tomorrow, for a last minute anniversary trip, and of course to see this Engar family, this Engar family and this dearest friend.

We're excited to get out of the cold and our normal routine for a while. I envision lots of cowboys, flat land and maybe George Bush?

**A side note: I finished my cleanse successfully for one week. I just couldn't hack more. Maybe next time?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cleanse: Day 6

So, I'm almost to a week. The question is do I keep going for another week or stop Monday morning. Considering how I feel, and the transformation it's made on my relationship with food, I'm going to opt for a second week. The ulitmate goal is to reach three weeks, but I want to be realistic with myself.

I had an upset last night, but I'm going to forgive myself and move on. A patient of Dr. Junger's asked if his eating forbidden food the night before completely ruined the cleanse. Dr. Junger's response was no. Simply move on and continue your cleanse the next day. So that is what I'll do.

I also discovered the reason as to why I was not enjoying the Berry Smoothie with Coconut Milk. I was using cooking coconut milk, not the coconut milk you can buy meant to replace milk. So note to self--coconut cooking milk not meant to be drank!!

Day 6: Saturday, January 29, 2011

Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom
This is obviously one of my favorites

Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Pesto

I realize I've eaten a lot of salmon. It's just so easy to cook! I probably need to switch it up and eat more vegetarian meals for lunch.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cleanse: Day 5

I woke up today not feeling too energetic. I'm wondering if it's because I didn't drink enough water yesterday. Today I'm going to lunch for my sister's birthday and going to dinner tonight with friends. What to do? I decided I better forego eating lunch but enjoy the company so I can enjoy eating at a restaurant tonight. Hey, it's only for one week, right? I can do this. Day five, here I come.

Day 5: Friday, January, 28, 2011

Berry Shake with Coconut Milk

2 cups coconut milk
2 cups raspberries and blueberries
1/4 avocado or coconut meat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 cup ice
Blend until smooth.

Notes: This isn't my favorite. Again drinking coconut milk is kind of hard to swallow (pun intended). The berry taste makes it tolerable but coconut milk is thick and has a pretty strong taste. I'm finding I definitely prefer the almond milk-based smoothies.

Mid-morning snack:
Handful of raw cashews

Grilled Shrimp with Arugula & Spaghetti Squash Salad
Ordered this at a restaurant. Tried to find the a dish that was ok with my cleanse.

Yesterday afternoon, I found out some crummy news so I unfortunately gave in and ate dinner at Chile's. I ordered a not so bad Carribbean salad but also enjoyed chips & salsa. Oh well. I'm going to keep going and move on!! It's alright not to be perfect all the time :).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cleanse: Day 4

A friend of mine recommended reading a book called In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I guess this book has completely changed her relationship with food. She now and has been for quite some time eating pure, organic and real food. She's not perfect by any means and has candy and donuts on occasion, but the biggest transformation is her desire to eat the amazing, real, healthy foods.

I just ordered the book on It was about $9. I'm excited to read the book and continue my education on food, all the while hoping to change my outlook on food and what I put in my mouth.

Here is a brief summary:

In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table. Michael Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Something that is hard to deal with is buying lots of produce and then using it before it goes bad. I have found that buying anything I can frozen has really saved me. Dr. Junger suggests buying frozen organic fruit so you can use as you want to and not worry about it going bad. For vegetables, that's a different story. I guess going to the grocery store every few days is your only option.

Notes from Day 3: Incredibly, I'm really not feeling any hunger. In fact I haven't been hungry for dinner the past couple days. Hope that's not a problem. My energy levels are about the same.

Day 4: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom
1/4 cup almond butter
2 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups of pure water
1 cup frozen peaches
1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup
1/2 cup ice
1. Blend together until smooth.
Tahini or pumpkin-seed butter can be substituted for almond butter
Notes: This smoothie is really good. The cardamom has a classic Indian taste. If you've ever had that sweet Naan, then you've had cardamom.

*Notes on cardamom

This exotic spice contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.

The spicy pods contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.

The therapeutic properties of cardamom-oil have found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.

Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

It is also an excellent source of manganese and iron. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.

The pods are rich in many vital vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health.

**Information found on

Mid-morning snack:
avocado with Sea salt

Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Pesto

See ingredients in previous post

Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cleanse: Day 3

Why is buying organic food a necessity? Yeah, it's super expensive, and I can only hope to one day be able to afford purely organic 100% of the time. But if you do a little research, it's shocking what you will find.

I found the following information on

Food the way Mother Nature made it is clean and wholesome. Your body knows just what to do with it. After all, it has had an awfully long time to figure that out.

Organic food doesn’t contain toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, dangerous industrial chemicals (for example, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives). And everything in it is natural: it’s real food, not "Frankenfood" created in a laboratory for profit regardless of the fact that genetically modified, synthetic foods have massive, well-known health hazards.

Dumb, dangerous food is laced with toxic industrial chemicals and additives because of the way it is grown, packaged, produced and manufactured. Its nutrient density (the amount of good stuff you get in the food you eat) is much lower than organic food while all of those industrial toxins act as poisons to the enzyme systems which life depends upon.

After all, we as a species have only encountered the 100,000+ chemicals added to toxic food and our toxic environment in the last seventy years or so. Our cells and bodies are used to real food: we don’t know what to do, biochemicaly speaking, with dumb food so we are poisoned by it. That’s why it’s dangerous.

And if the food has had its genetic make-up contaminated by scientists who have messed up the DNA of food with viruses, non-food genes, insect and human genetic bits and so on, our bodies have no way at all to deal with this dangerous stuff. This messed-up, dumb food made by smart–but not very wise–scientists working for rich — but not very responsible — companies, is called Genetically Modified Organism or GMO food. Sometimes it’s called Genetically Engineered (GE) or Biotechnical Modified (BM) food.

Whatever you call it, studies show that eating it is associated with slow, gradual organ system failure, perforated, bleeding guts, shrunken kidneys, damaged immune systems, increased serious and life threatening diseases like cancer, autoimmune disease, life threatening allergies, irregularities in the blood system, and a host of other dangerous, and deadly conditions.

And here is the dumbest part of all: this dumb and dangerous "food" does not have to be tested for safety before it is released into the food supply. It just has to have a patent on it. And patents do not take safety into account.

So what happens if you eat dumb and dangerous food? Nothing good and perhaps some really, really bad things. The US is the only country which does not require labeling of GMO food. So lots of the foods you eat everyday probably contain dangerous, dumb food including non-organic corn, soy,canola oil and many nutritional supplements!

It really is alarming, what most of America is eating, including myself. It seems almost impossible to completely avoid processed, chemically-rich foods. I think even small steps to make your diet more organic can go a long way, even if you can't afford to buy everything organic, which most of us can't. And isn't that a travesty that most Americans can't afford to buy REAL food? Food that hasn't been processed or pumped full of chemicals. Very, very sad.

Dr. Junger recommends buying all your produce from your local farmers market, or simply growing it yourself. Buying it there guarantees it's organic because it's local and isn't shipped from South America and doused with preservatives in order to stay fresh.

A family friend of mine is a honest to goodness food scientist. She works for a big food corporation (not sure which one) and performs "experiments" daily. Her experiments include creating food out of chemicals, testing the taste and so forth. Her latest project I believe was creating Progresso Soup. Hearing her stories, I couldn't help but wonder, do I really want to eat something that was a scientific experiment? Do I want to eat food laced with chemicals, toxins and whatever else they put in there to fabricate some sort of taste? It was a real eye opener for me.

Anyway, I think most of us get caught up in our fast-paced and day to day activities and forget to think about what we're ingesting. It's no wonder auto-immune diseases and cancer are rampant in our nation.

Well back to the detox.

Notes from Day Two:
I never really struggled with hunger except around mid-morning. This is already becoming a lot easier. My energy is about the same. I have noticed after I drink the Green Juice, I kind of feel like I drank caffeine. Lots of energy. Amazing that it comes from pure nutrients and not a stimulant-inducing drug.

Day Three: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blueberry Smoothie with Cacao Powder
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons cacao powder
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 cup ice

Blend together until smooth.

Mid-morning snack: avocado with Sea salt

Whole Foods Grilled Chicken with Southwestern Salad Shaker
5 oz. grilled chicken

Whole Foods Salad Shaker:
Red Bell peppers
black beans
sunflower seeds
pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalepeno peppers, lemon juice, salt, black pepper)
Tomato-oil Herb Dressing (tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, white vinegar, garlic, basil, mustard seed, salt, black pepper)

Organic Raw Kombucha Gingerade (fresh pressed ginger juice, organic raw Kombucha)

Notes: The salad shaker from Whole Foods was super good. Going to have to get that again! The Kombucha Gingerade drink tasted pretty similar to gingerale.

**Notes on Kombucha

Kombucha is alternately known as a Chinese tea, a plant, or a mushroom. But it's not really any of these. It's a living culture of beneficial microorganisms, and in Kombucha's case, the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts! Our Kombucha is delicately cultured - some liken it to fermentation - for 30 days. During this period, essential nutrients form like active enzymes, viable probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that encourages health and wellness. Kombucha has been used for hundreds of years throughout the world as a daily health tonic. The culture resembles a light brown, tough, gelatinous disk—and because it's a living, growing entity, it can regenerate and create new cultures with every batch. In fact, GT's Kombucha and Synergy are made from Kombucha cultures that are descendants of the original culture GT grew to create his first bottles.

**Information and image found at

Green Smoothie
1 1/2 cups of almond milk
1/2 cup of coconut water
2 leaves lacinato kale or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
1/4 avocado
1/2 cup mango chunks
1/2 cup ice
Blend together until smooth.

Notes: This is not my favorite but wasn't horrible. Meaning I wasn't cringing to get it down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cleanse: Day 2

So I read something very alarming. A ritual of mine is to read CNN online every morning, and I happened to come across this startling article a few weeks ago. According to a report released by a non-profit Environmental Working Group, millions of Americans in at least 31 U.S. cities could be drinking tap water contaminated with a harmful chemical hexavalent chromium. This carcinogen has been known to cause stomach cancer. Awesome. So, reading further, thinking there's no possible way it's in Salt Lake, I find the list of cities and bam. Right there, and hard to miss. Salt Lake City.

So what does one do when one learns this? Get a water filter or buy bottled water of course. But alas, a Brita water filter does nothing to rid chemicals, and there's no guarantee your bottled water doesn't come from the same source. So the only option I have left is to buy a reverse osmosis water filter. Those suckers can range from $300 to $600, depending on the kind you get. So of course I'm trying to think of ways to coax my husband into letting me get one. He's a die hard skeptic when it comes to eating organic, or vegetarian, using non-toxic cleaners, or buying a water filter. He doesn't get it. So we made a deal. Once our credit card debt is paid off we can buy ourselves a reverse osmosis water filter and then perhaps not die of stomach cancer.

What was even more alarming, after reading Dr. Junger's book, is that our body absorbs more water through our skin than by drinking it. So just buying a water filter does nothing for the water your skin absorbs taking a shower. Awesome again. I guess all I can do is what I have the power to do, and that is buy a water filter. I'll just have to wait for the government to step in and regulate our water sources for a more clean, pure shower.

To see if your city has the same chemical chilin in your water click here

Day 1: Recap

I'm not going to lie. I was pretty hungry last night. The Green Juice kept me satisfied for a couple hours then hunger crept in. Dr. Junger said hunger is normal of course, but to not fret too much, because it will decrease as your body adjusts to its intake.

Here goes day two.

Day Two: Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exercise: 60 minute circuit training class

Blueberry Smoothie with Cacao Powder
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons cacao powder
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 cup ice

Blend together until smooth.
Notes: Really, really tasty. The combination of almond milk, blueberries and cacao make a delightful treat.

*Notes on cacao powder

Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea.

Many people consider eating chocolate a “guilty pleasure.” But the reputation of chocolate as a junk food should more accurately be attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added, most notably white sugar. All chocolate is made from the cacao (cocoa) bean, and cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and beneficial to health.

**Information and image found on

Mid-morning snack:
1 avocado with sea salt

Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Pesto

5-ounce portions of wild salmon
2 tablespoons fresh pesto
1 bunch asaparagus, woody ends trimmed off
4 cups mesclun greens or arugula
Extra virgin olive oil

For the pesto:
2 bunches fresh basil, washed and leaves pulled from the hard stalks
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
Sea salt for seasoning

To make pesto, place basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor and process on medium.
Drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running.
Season with salt.
If it is too thick, add a small amount or pure water.
Set aside in a bowl.

Brush salmon and asparagus with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill asparagus and salmon.
Prepare the salad. Place the greens in a bowl, toss with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of pesto over the top of each piece of salmon.
Serve while the salmon is still warm.

You may use prepared pesto as long as it doesn't contain any additives.

Notes: This dish is deeelicious. I'm in love with arugula, the pesto was divine as was the asparagus.

Green Juice
(recipe in previous post)

Notes for the day:
I was definitely less hungry. I actually felt full after lunch.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Clean Me

Junk food. My current demise. Pizza, cookies, candy, milk, processed food, more candy and anything else that doesn't do a body good.

I woke up this morning feeling exhausted. Dennis and I ate pizza and cheese pull-a-parts from The Pie yesterday. Despite being utterly delicious, I feel amazingly bloated this morning. I decided a couple weeks ago, that I needed a body recharge. My body is screaming to rid itself of the daily toxins it ingests. The holidays, New Years, and my daily food intake has taken a toll on my body. My energy is depleted, I'm bloated, constipated (sorry-TMI) and never feel that refreshed upon waking up. I need a system overhaul.

About a year and a half ago, I attempted to do the "Clean" detox diet. The author, Alejandro Junger, a physician that combines western medicine with eastern medicine, designed the cleanse. I've researched the heck out of cleanse diets and found this one to be the best fit for me. I found it off of Gwyneth Paltrow's "Goop" website. She swears it transformed her body, and did so safely. I decided to give the old cleanse a try and was very, very pleased.

So yet again, I am starting the Clean detox cleanse (Dr. Junger recommends doing a cleanse annually). The program encourages you to finish three weeks, but allows you to take it one week at a time. Even a week on the cleanse can be very beneficial. I'm going to aim for one week and take it from there.

The cleanse consists of two liquid meals a day with one solid meal. The liquid meals consist of juiced or blended juices, shakes or soups comprised of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices. The solid meal is purely organic and as raw as you can get it.

Other stipulations include:
Pure filtered water only--drinking enough to keep you going to to the bathroom hourly
Two tablespoons of olive oil each night (lubricates the intestines)
A clove of garlic a day-garlic is a natural detoxifier
No dairy products, including milk, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
No red meat or pork products
No soy products
No refined sugars including pasta, bread, flour, etc.
No soda pop, coffee, processed (store bought) juice
You can drink herbal teas, but not in replacement of water
A daily bowel movement--which means if you're not doing it on your own, you use a natural laxative or enema :)
A daily 5 minute meditation
Using all organic and natural products including organic deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, soap, cleaning products, etc.
Liquid meal for breakfast and dinner, solid meal for lunch

Dr. Junger encourages:
Colonics--I tried this last time and almost died. Seriously. I wouldn't recommend it unless you talk to a doctor or do some extensive research
A weekly massage
Scrubbing your body in the shower--ridding yourself of all the dead skin
Sitting in a sauna daily--sweating is a great natural detoxifier
Exercising daily
Taking deep breaths throughout the day--breathing also a great natural detoxifier

I decided to record my cleanse on my blog. A great way to keep me accountable and motivated. So I guess I'll start with day one which is today.

Day One: Monday January 24, 2011

Exercise: 60 minute spin class

Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom
1/4 cup almond butter
2 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups of pure water
1 cup frozen peaches
1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup
1/2 cup ice
1. Blend together until smooth.
Tahini or pumpkin-seed butter can be substituted for almond butter
Notes: This smoothie is really good. The cardamom has a classic Indian taste. If you've ever had that sweet Naan, then you've had cardamom.

Mid-morning Snack:
Handful of cashews

Superfood Salad with Acai Dressing & Salmon

Napa Cabbage
Red Onions
Goji berries
sunflower seeds
Acai dressing (acai juice, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, cashew, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne)

4 oz. wild salmon, grilled, seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice

Green Juice
2 green apples
3 stalks celery
1 leaf lacinato kale
1 leaf Swiss chard
1/4 cabbage
1 head broccoli
1/2 medium cucumber
1/2 lemon

Blend in juicer.
Notes: This is pretty refreshing, but the thought that I'm drinking vegetables makes it a little hard to go down.

Notes for today:
I felt pretty good the whole day. Not too much hunger suprisingly. The late afternoon I snuck in a piece of gum. I'm really going to try and not eat gum, so I need to prepare better tomorrow and bring more snacks to work. No bloating, no headache. :)

From here on out, I'll record what I ate throughout the day that evening, and keep you updated as I move forward in the cleansing process. I have a feeling Whole Foods will be seeing a lot of me. Wish me luck!

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pretty Inspiring Video

This video fits nicely with yesterday's self improvement post. It really is inspiring. I honestly believe weaknesses can become strengths, especially with God's help.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Reflection...

I'm such a bad blogger. I don't really update as much as I should. I don't take pictures of events in my life. And I don't write things down, so I'll always remember them. I have so many things I need to work on.

Being a new year, I started reflecting on past years and events of my life, relationships that have come and gone, careers that were short lived and new people I have met. It's unbelievable to me how fast time flies. It seems like yesterday I was taking my new teaching job in Arizona with Laura and setting out on a new adventure. That was almost 4 years ago. Incredible. So much has transpired since that year in Arizona. I've had two job changes, married, bought a house and a dog, certified in pilates, and aged. I still feel like I'm 23 and ready for any obstacle ahead of me. But the increasing lines on my face and gray hairs tell me otherwise. I'm still young at 27, but approaching my thirties quite rapidly.

Because experiences are but a fleeting moment, I've realized how much has happened these past years and how much I need to improve on. Have I become a better person than I was four years ago? Have I become more self disciplined, more compassionate, more selfless, more kind, more serving and less judgmental? Not to the extent I need to be. I find myself judging people very quickly. In fact the older I get, the more it seems I am set in my ways and therefore judge people more. However, the older I get, I realize the importance of character rather than material or superficial things.

Marriage has made the most transformative change in my life and in my character. I am a different person compared to the Ashley that got married two years ago. Our anniversary is approaching and our marriage is better and amazingly more seamless than when we first said "I do". I truly believe I was a kid then. Even though it was two years ago, I felt like I have aged and grown the equivalent of 10 years.

Marriage is an amazing thing. It has taught me several life long lessons. The most profound being love. Love is not infatuation. Love is hard work. Love is loving a person despite their flaws. Love is working every day towards a better marriage. Love is coming home to my husband and being so grateful he chose to marry me. Love is being less self-centered and giving your all to your partner. Love is creating a family. Love is uniting yourself to your husband to which you become one. Love encompasses all sorts of great character traits. Ones that I have improved on since that Valentine's Day in 2009.

I'm turning 28 years old this year. With my thirties approaching, I have been very contemplative with what has transpired in my life, what I have accomplished, and what goals I have going forward. But what is really bothering me, is I feel like I haven't been charitable. What have I done for others the past 27 years of my life? I know that I have done a whole lot for myself, but not a whole lot for my neighbors, friends, family, and community.

This is my primary goal for 2011. To forget about my trials, my daily tribulations and start helping and serving others. I have it so good. I have been so blessed. I have an amazing husband. I have an amazing family. I have amazing friends. I have a home, I have a job and I have a healthy body. With all this goodness that fills my life, I feel like it's my duty to give back.

I hope that this year will be more of a reflective and contemplative one. I hope that I can improve on my weaknesses. I hope that I can always live by what I believe. I hope that I can help others. I hope that I can be more forgiving and less judgmental. I hope that I can slowly, but steadily change who I am each day for the better. I hope I can look back four years from now, and be ok with what I have done.

Happy Monday.

**Quote above by James A. Froude

Monday, January 3, 2011

Come take Reformer Pilates from me. For Free!

So it's official. I started teaching. And guess what? Your first two classes are FREE! So now you have no excuse not to come try it out!

I thought I'd let all you fabulous bloggers know that beginning this new year I will start teaching Group Reformer Pilates at King Studio in Foothill Village. My classes begin tonight, Monday, January 3rd.

What a fantastic way to start off the new year by getting in shape and taking Reformer Pilates! If you haven't had a chance to partake of this pilates goodness now is the time to get started. The first time I did pilates on a reformer I fell in love, and I can guarantee you will as well. I decided to become an instructor to pass on my love and passion for this amazing work out. I've had knee problems the past few years and I have finally found something I can do that is very challenging yet easy on my joints. I hope you all will take this opportunity to join me this new year in getting in shape!

Below are my class times and prices. Space is limited to 6 so call, text or email me to reserve a few days in advance to secure your spot! I look forward to seeing all of you soon:) Call for any questions on group pricing, duets, or private training. I will most likely be picking up additional class times in the near future. Happy New Year!

King Studio:
1400 Foothill Dr. suite #228
Salt Lake CIty
(on the second floor in the south west corner of Foothill Village--above Steinmart)

4:30-5:30 pm

4:30-5:30 pm

5:45 -6:45 am

8 am- 9 am

Pilates Pricing:
First two classes FREE!!
5 pack for $90 ($18/class)
10 pack for $150 ($15/class)

Peace and love,