Life by Cynthia: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Murad and FITNESS Magazine Event #itsallclear

On February 25, 2014 I had the opportunity to attend an invite only event hosted by Murad and Fitness Magazine. A few bloggers were invited to get tips on how to live, look, and feel better. The event was held at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills.  It was an intimate day with Howard Murad, Pam O'Brien (Executive Editor of FITNESS Magazine), Mary Beth LaRue (yoga instructor & life coach), Julie Morris (natural food chef & author), and Candace (Director of Global Education for Murad).

This was the second event that I attended that was sponsored by FITNESS Magazine. Last year I was invited to FitBlogLA and had a blast!  This event was just as inspiring as the prior gathering but a little more my speed. It is definitely worth my drive up from San Diego to attend. I always come away with great memories.

What I LOVE most about gatherings such as these is the opportunity to connect with my fellow bloggers and getting to hear from industry pros!  I am in complete admiration of these ladies and each is a blogging hero of mine!  I still smile knowing that I got to practice yoga alongside FITNESS Magazine's Executive Editor Pam O'Brien, and bloggers Chris What I Run Into, Melissa The Valentine RD, and Tiffany Running Hutch!  I enjoyed that boost of inspiration from these ladies!

Our day started with fresh fruits, yogurt, tea, infused water, and an amazing hour long yoga practice with Mary Beth LaRue.  I am an instant fan of hers and loved her style. I especially admire the fact that she has developed classes held at the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles for teenagers, newborns, and their family members. It touches my heart because we were told that our son was going to be born with Down Syndrome. I will share more about that in a later post. For now, I will share the day with you.  After our workout and panel session, we were treated to lunch and I had a chance to chat with Mary Beth about our practice that morning. I told her that it meant a lot to me that she focused on having fun.  Stressing that our workouts should be based on quality, not quantity.  I had been beating myself up for not having enough time to squeeze in for exercise - but now my focus will be on truly getting the most out of the workouts that DO get to have.  I needed that little attitude adjustment!  I also confessed to her my preference for an instructor led class vs. trying to practice at home with a video. If she ever relocates to San Diego - I'm signing up with her studio! Manduka generously supplied our yoga mats that we got to keep after practice. I will be putting mine to good use!

We learned about skincare from the popular dermatologist Dr. Murad. He also shared his other pursuits: authoring a book filled with art and inspirational quotes.  Candace, from Dr. Murad's team, introduced us to their new products: Murad Acne Clearing Solution and Acne Spot Fast Fix.  After the presentation Dr. Murad graciously answered our dermatology questions.  I had minor surgery and have a raised scar from it. I asked Dr. Murad for his suggestions on encouraging healing. I stated that since I am now in my 40's - I don't seem to heal as well as when I was younger.  First off, scars are a natural part of the body's healing process. He explained that my tendency for hypertrophic scaring is that my body produces too much collagen - in essence overcompensating to heal. He did point out that people like me with excessive collagen are less prone to wrinkles.  That explained a lot. I don't have facial wrinkles. I do get ugly scars. A trade off I suppose. I do have remedies to try that he recommended - so we'll see!  Maybe there is hope yet for these scars!

I worked up a healthy appetite from my long morning drive and hour long yoga practice.  I was so ready for lunch! During our luncheon, Julie gave us an introduction to super foods and a mini cooking class.  She whipped up a delicious smoothie for us to sample. She also showed us a recipe for a super salad and creamy cashew dressing. To conclude her presentation she announced that she was gifting us with her Super Food Smoothies book!  She was full of energy and enthusiasm.  Note to self: eat more super foods!  I could definitely use more energy and enthusiasm!

My thanks to Murad, FITNESS Magazine, panelists, event organizers, SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, and Manduka for a great day! I'm inspired to live, look, and feel better!

Disclosure: I was an invited guest to the Murad and FITNESS Magazine #itsallclear event.  I was not obligated to post about the event, but wanted to share my experience. All opinions are my own. Pictured above are a few gift items that we received.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pregnancy Resources In San Diego From Sharp HealthCare #sharpbaby

Being pregnant for the first time is an exciting time.  It can also be a time of anxiety. Luckily my husband and I took classes and toured the hospital well before the big show. It gave us the confidence not to panic at go time. It was very helpful for us. If you are in the San Diego area, I invite you to check out resources that are available for Moms-to-Be.

Sharp HealthCare Offers Special Events and Services for Moms-to-Be

Are you expecting? This is an exciting time for you and your family. Sharp HealthCare offers special events and services exclusively for moms-to-be.

Baby on the Way

This free event gives moms-to-be a unique opportunity to tour the hospital, ask physicians and specialists questions about pregnancy and childbirth, and learn more about classes and support groups available during and after pregnancy. You can also get help in choosing an OB/GYN and pediatrician. Baby on the Way is offered at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. To learn more or to register for a tour, visit Baby on the Way Event call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827- 4277) Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

Below is a list of upcoming sessions. Please visit the Sharp website for updated offerings.

Fit4Baby Prenatal Exercise Program

Looking for a way to stay fit in during your pregnancy? Bring your yoga mat and head over to Fit4Baby San Diego – now presented by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.

Fit4Baby is a prenatal exercise fitness program designed to help pregnant women increase core strength and flexibility. Classes include warm-up, strength training, cardio, stretching and balancing exercising that change as your baby grows.

Eight classes cost just $100 – that’s just $12.50 a class. The classes can be used at any time and do not expire. Classes are held on Saturdays from 10 to 11 am at Sharp Home Care in Clairemont.

It’s easy to register for these classes. Just sign up online at Fit4Baby San Diego. A doctor’s note to participate in an exercise program is required on the first day of class. For more information, call 1-800-82- SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

Disclosure: I am a participant in Sharp HealthCare’s blogger ambassador program. While Sharp HealthCare has provided me with samples, event opportunities and/or resources to serve as content for my blog posts, all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finding Ways To Keep Fit In My Forties

Being a working mom is tough for me. Yes, I am being a bit of a cry baby. I know that there are so many moms out there that find ways to make it work with apparent ease. For me, it's a constant struggle. But I am trying. Always trying. That counts, right?

Reminder: I am 42 years old. I work full time outside of the home. I have a 3 year old son. Thankfully, I am married to a husband that is supportive.  I adore my family and I want to spend time with them.  I would even like to have another child. WOW - I said that out loud and put it in writing on my blog.  We will save that tidbit for another blog post.

Time. I can't find enough of the darn thing. And when I do have a moment I mostly want to veg out and relax. To clear my mind and get some exercise in - I have learned to be resourceful.  I would love to hit the yoga studio for a 90 minute practice. That isn't very practical right now.  Our kid is growing up so fast!  I want to have every moment that I can with him.  There isn't much time from when I get home from work until he nods off to bed.  If forced to choose between heading to gym or rushing home to our son - I will always pick my son.

Thank goodness for break time at work.  I have found two ways get get my fitness in without cutting in to precious family time. I can run parking structure stairs AND hit a running trail just STEPS away from our building.

I try to do workout videos at home but there are too many distractions. With a 3 year old wanting to climb on me during yoga poses and my husband cracking me up - it's hard to find a zen moment!

For now I hit the trail or tackle the stairs.  Sometimes, you just don't NEED a gym membership. Reminder: cancel gym membership.

How do YOU find your balance with mom life? Are you able to squeeze in time to workout? I'd love your tips.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Del Taco Introduces Turkey Tacos

This post and giveaway is sponsored by Del Taco.

On January 2, Del Taco introduced Turkey Tacos, making the company the first Mexican fast food chain to offer ground turkey as a protein option. Del Taco’s Turkey Tacos feature lean, seasoned ground turkey that has 33 percent less fat than its seasoned beef. Each Turkey Taco has only 150 calories.  Del Taco is also offering a Turkey CrunchTada Tostada, an extension of their popular CrunchTada product line.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mission Federal ArtWalk San Diego Celebrates 30 Years

This year marks Mission Federal ArtWalk’s 30th Anniversary. The ArtWalk is the largest fine art festival in Southern California.  A special preview event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mission Federal ArtWalk was held at the Westgate Hotel.  Members of the media were in attendance for the unveiling of the the 2014 Featured Artists.

Interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria was a guest and speaker at the preview event. Gloria stated that the arts are critical to San Diego's vision for building a great city and proclaimed the day as ArtWalk San Diego Day.

The evening afforded the opportunity to view the art as well as a chance to meet some of the artists. Cynthia Colis, a returning featured artists, chatted with us about her work. Cynthia Colis is a resident of San Diego. Her many works include her “kiss” portraits and colorful paintings of cows.

In celebration of the festival’s 30th anniversary, festival organizers recognized several local arts advocates for supporting the community event and fostering the talent of local artists.  During the private event, Mission Federal ArtWalk unveiled the recipients of the inaugural Artie Awards.

Details for ArtWalk San Diego:

WHAT: Mission Federal ArtWalk, the largest fine art festival in Southern California, will commemorate its 30th year with a 17-block celebration in the lively neighborhood of Little Italy in San Diego. Founded by local artists, Mission Federal ArtWalk has become a showcase for established and emerging artists and the ultimate event for aficionados and casual collectors.

The Art: Stroll through the outdoor exhibition of original fine art in an array of compelling media including paintings, sculpture and photography. More than 700 artists apply for the sought after slots each year, with about half selected to participate. Exhibiting artists represent California and beyond, and some hail from as far away as Europe. These one-of-a-kind collectibles are available for purchase directly from the artist with an expected price range of $50 to over $15,000.

Fun for Families: Families are invited to bring their kids to enjoy KidsWalk, a special area at the event offering more than 15 hands-on art activities provided by regional non-profit organizations such as children’s museums, performing art schools and art instructors.

Live Performances: For decades the festival has also celebrated San Diego’s diverse performing arts with an extensive lineup of music and dance performances. While roaming Little Italy this April, visitors will be treated to five stages of live music, a dedicated venue for San Diego’s dance companies, terrific eateries and creative vignettes of performing and interactive entertainment.

Food and Drink: Little Italy’s award-winning dining scene satisfies art lover’s appetites with flavors from classic Italian favorites and innovative new restaurants. The festival will also feature booths from local restaurants and the Little Italy Association sponsored beer and wine garden.

WHEN: This two-day event takes place on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

WHERE: San Diego, California; the outdoor fine art festival is held in the Little Italy community, a part of downtown adjacent to San Diego’s “Big Bay.” For more information on the event visit

COSTS: Mission Federal ArtWalk is a free public event. Thanks to sponsorship support, participating artists obtain reasonably priced exhibit space to showcase and sell their fine art, and more than 120,000 visitors have the opportunity to experience a unique mix of original fine art at no cost.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit; call (619) 615-1090; or engage on social media, @ArtWalkSD on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Disclosure: We were invited as members of the media for the VIP event. Hosted beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres were served at The Westgate Hotel Versailles Ballroom. The preview event was sponsored by Mission Federal Credit Union.  All opinions are my own.

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