The First Guy Who Broke My Daughter’s Heart Was Santa Claus.

It all started with the Tooth Fairy, which is where I think this sequelae often begins.  Savanna lost a tooth last week and expected a magical visit.  Yours truly forgot.  It was Friday night, and I fell asleep after pizza and Homeland.  Also, I was over the Tooth Fairy thing.

Hear me out.  My daughter is 10 years old and had written a list of requests:  money, a stuffed animal, and a necklace.  Maybe something else, I can’t be sure.

Over the past 10 years,  I’ve done it all-the money, tooth fairy letters, even pictures and gifts.  My glitter is fading.  It’s time to retire my wand, so I forgot.  Probably selectively.

The next day, she walked into my closet a little disappointed and let me know that SHE KNOWS the deal.

Her:  It’s you, I know it is.  There is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy.  It was you!  

Me:  Maybe you should say thank you then!  

*Her expression was a mixture of triumph and slight disappointment.  No tears.  Had she been deeply disappointed, I would’ve kept the magic alive.*

That was the end of our conversation, at least for several hours.  We had a basketball game, a big victory, and a party in between…..but her wheels began turning at dinner and spiraled into heartbreak by bedtime.

Dinner Conversation:

Her:  The Easter Bunny isn’t real, either.  There’s no giant bunny who hops around the world on Easter.  That’s so stupid.

Me:  You are right.

Her:  But Santa Claus, he’s real, right?


Mike:  Of course Santa Claus is real!

Me:  Yes!  Santa is real.  Who wants dessert?

Fast forward an hour.


Her:  MOMMY.  Is there anything else I need to know?  Just tell me.  Is Santa real?  Or is it you?

Me:  ………..real!

Her:  MOMMY.  TELL ME if you are lying to me.  Just TELL ME.

Me:  Savanna.  Yes, it’s me.  I am Santa.  I love you.

Friends, my daughter fell apart.  The kid was devastated.  She cried and told me how disappointed and angry she felt that we had “lied” to her all these years.  I worked hard to create magic for her, and she believed all of it.

I’d like to tell you I made the right decision by answering her question that night, but I’m not sure.  Looking back, I think she was actually asking me for reassurance-not the truth.  She wanted me to reassure her that Santa WAS real.

Nowadays, Christmas traditions are SO much more than Santa.  We have the Elf for 30 days, the Santa Tracker, Santa videos tailored for our children, Santa Claus phone calls, and even photo shopped Santa photos.  It’s easy to for children to fully believe with such proof.  When we create lots of magic, there’s lots to lose.

Of course, I explained to her that Santa Claus is a symbol of joy, anticipation, love, and generosity, and that we use Santa to teach children to believe in things not seen.  I told her that we have to believe in the things we can not see with our eyes-love, faith, hope, God, and even talent at times.  I talked about all the things I had always planned on saying.  Is that what she wanted to hear?  Nope.  She wanted Santa and the whole sleigh.

It felt like a death had occurred at our house that night.  I held her hand while she fell asleep in tears.  Then, I walked downstairs feeling like an asshole because maybe the magical Christmas I created over the past 10 years was just a setup for disappointment.



You may think, “How is she 10 and still believing in Santa?”  She fully believed because she trusted me and believed everything we told her.  Let’s just say I worked hard to protect this whole thing with personalized videos, phone calls, and letters.  The works.  It was too much.  Had I realized that her Santa Claus beliefs would ultimately end in grave disappointment, I would have toned it down.  Alot.  The less magical stuff we create, the less there is to lose later.


Sometimes, parenting is really hard.  I never saw this one coming at all.  I went to bed questioning myself about everything related to parenting and the holidays.  Mothering is a perpetual exercise in letting go so that our children can grow.  We let go a little with a full day of Kindergarten.  We let go a little with the first sleepover.  There are hundreds of little “letting go” events that we have to endure for the best of our children, and I find that hard at times.  Now, we let go of an old belief that brought big joy.

That’s all from this South Florida mom blogger today, folks.  Last night when I tucked Savanna in,  I shut her bedroom door and heard her yell, “Good night, Santa!”  And I knew she was OK.  We’re all OK, but I could use a break from Christmas until next year.  Ciao for now!  Love, Santa.



Workout Diaries #5 | Ropes, Worms, and WTFs

Here’s a new workout for you to spice up your week!  You will need:  battle ropes and a kettle bell (KB).  I learned to use the battle ropes when I worked out with my brother in law, who is a specialist in battle ropes.  If you don’t have these necessities, find a fitness center that does or you can purchase the items on Amazon for reasonable cost.  We own 2″ battle ropes, but I find the 1.5″ ropes at the gym much easier to hold and manipulate during the workout.  You’ll get a great cardio workout while working your upper body!

Start with jogging or running for 20-30 minutes, either outdoors or inside on a treadmill.  Get your heart rate to 70-75% max (220 minus your age=your max), which for me is around 140-145.  Today, I ran at a 7.0-8.0 pace for 30 minutes with an HR of 140-150.  Run at whatever pace brings your heart rate to 70-75% of your max to get warmed up and start sweating.

Just start running and make sure you sweat.

And now we begin……

                                The real work!

4 Rounds

20 KB swings (35#)

40 Walking Lunges (20 each side)

5 Walk to Floors (WTF)

5 Worms

Battle Ropes (BR) Alternating Wave, normal grip, 30 seconds

BR Alternating Wave, reverse grip, 30 seconds

BR Big Wave, 30 seconds

40 Walking Lunges (20 each side)

Tired yet?  Do it again 3 more times for a total of 4 rounds

Don’t know how to do some of these exercises?  Don’t worry!  I demonstrated a few of the lesser kn0wn movements for you here:  the KB swing, the WTF, the worm, and the BR movements.  Just click on the link for a pop up video.

KB:  KB swings

WTF and Worm:  WTF (Walk to Floor)


Battle Ropes:  Small alternating waves normal grip, small alternating waves reverse grip, big wave smackdowns.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off.

                                Battle Ropes

That’s all for today from this Fort Lauderdale mom, folks.  Well, kind of.  Have you tried Madison Reed hair color?  You should.  I did last week.  LOVE. IT.  The backstory:  I typically highlighted my own roots at home because I don’t have the patience to visit a salon every 2 weeks.  The nasty chemical toxins in hair colors are horrifying, but it’s nearly impossible to find a healthier hair color option…..until now.  I heard about Madison Reed recently and decided to give it a try!

SO GLAD I DID.  From the moment I purchased my first hair color, Madison Reed was a seamless customer experience.  Their product arrived SO perfectly packaged that I was reminded of Steve Jobs and his perfectionistic Apple packaging.  The box arrived filled with goodies just for me!

What I LOVE about Madison Reed:

  1.  Healthy!  No chemicals.  No parabens.  Nothing bad being placed ever so close to my brain.
  2. No damage!  My hair feels (and smells) wonderful after using Madison Reed.  It’s not going to look fried later.
  3. It arrives dependably every 2 weeks!  I get an email telling me that my Madison Reed hair color (ANCONA!) is on the way, and sure enough it is.  I receive it just in time to cover my silver roots.
  4. Beautiful color!  Ancona delivers vibrant color whereas previous products gave me a bleached look.  LOVE.  IT.

Madison Reed Ancona

  1. Excellent customer service.  Madison Reed must be full of fabulous people because they act like they want my business.  I like that!  In fact, I tweeted out my response to my first Madison Reed hair color experience, and her his what I got back.  Good people.

  1. Other products:  the shampoo and conditioner contain no harsh chemicals, sulfates, or parabens, and they SMELL amazing. I’m going to try the hair gloss next time to refresh my color.  I’ll keep you posted!

That really IS all for today.  Ciao for now!

2 Minute Lunch Ideas | Salmon Lettuce Boats

Do you eat lunch?  Or do you snack throughout the day?  I’m guilty of the latter.


Salmon Lettuce Wraps
      A Healthy Lunch in 2 Minutes!

Here’s a fast, healthy lunch idea that you can make at home in less than 2 minutes.  Seriously, 2 minutes.

Maybe less.

These are tasty, fast, fresh, and healthy.  Make sure to buy the wild salmon in a can-not the farm raised.  Groders.

Open the can and mix the salmon with a TBS of Bolthouse Farms Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing (or something similar).

Spoon into lettuce boats.

End of recipe.

Easy salmon lettuce wraps in 2 minutes!

You’ll get your Omegas without the nasty carbs, dairy, or gluten.  Bon apetite!

That’s all from this fitness freak today, folks.  Exercise is my behavioral medicine-what’s yours?  That is an important question to ask because the behavioral medicine we pick can be really great…..or really, really bad.  I’ll talk more about this later.  Ciao!


This Exercise Will Amplify Any Workout | The Bear Complex

This exercise is called The Bear Complex, and you can add this to almost any workout to amp things up.  If you do CrossFit, you don’t need this post, but most people don’ know how to do this movement.  The Bear Complex is the perfect fundamental movement  to amplify the effect of the other exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc).  You can use it in between sets, as part of your set, or as a movement you do in between cardio segments.  I usually do 5 reps of The Bear Complex at the beginning of a set to get a full body workout.

Keep in mind that 1 rep involves 6 movements:  deadlift, hang power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, push press.  Five reps of this is much harder than it sounds!

You will need a straight bar or a typical weight rig (bar and plates).  I use a 50-60 pounds straight bar depending on how I’m feeling and what the workout involves.  Rather than explain the movement, I have a quick video demo for you here.  Remember to keep your knees soft (not locked) during the deadlift portion.  Roll your shoulders during the hang power clean.  Keep your elbows pointing down to the floor, and focus on making the movement fluid.



There you have it!  You can throw this into almost any workout.  They’re like colorful sprinkles on the cake of fitness.  Throw them anywhere and everywhere, as often as you can to spice things up.  Everything you do will be more challenging after 5-10 reps of Bear Complex movements.

Try this workout sometime-use the same bar for all movements unless you want to go heavier on deadlifts.  If so, grab a heavier bar and use two bars for the workout.  I like to go lighter and move faster, but some folks prefer heavier, slower movements.

5 Rounds

5 Bear Complex

20 Back Squats

20 Front lunges 

20 Deadlifts

You’re welcome.

That’s all for today, folks.  The Bear Complex is a complex, functional movement you can all do!  Grab 20 pounds to begin if needed.  Do 2 reps if that’s all you can do.  Two is better than one!  Good luck.  Now go win the day!  Ciao!

Workout Diaries #3 | How to Get a Better Butt

Here is a another 20/20/20 workout for those of you who want a 1)better workout and a 2)tighter, firmer butt.  This is the same 20/20/20 format I described in my last post (Workout Diaries #2) wherein you begin with 20 minutes on the treadmill, continue to the resistance training portion for 20 minutes, and end with 20 minutes on the stairs.  Last time, we used the med ball for the middle portion of the workout.  This time, you’ll grab a straight bar instead.  So, here you go.

Start with 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill.  You can pick your speed while remembering that the goal is to warm up and start sweating.  I usually run at a 7.0-7.5 pace during this 20 minute interval.

Run, jog, or do springs for 20 minutes. I run about 2.5 miles to warm up and get myself motivated.

Once you finish, get a straight bar weighing between 20 and 60 pounds.  I usually pick 60 pounds for a great workout, though some friends would laugh at my “light” weight here.  Pick what works for you!

You will do approximately 5 rounds of the following, or whatever you can do in 20 minutes.  Work fast and don’t take a break-the mountain climbers are your “rest.”  Yes, for real.

Don’t panic if you don’t know how to do these moves!  I included a quick video demonstration to illustrate these lifts.  If you are a beginner, pick a very light weight to begin while learning the movement.

  1.  10 Thrusters
  2. 30 Mountain Climbers
  3. 20 Deadlifts
  4. 20 Front Rack Lunges

I demonstrated these movements in two videos below:

Thruster Workout (mountain climbers, and deadlifts)

Front Rack Lunges

Your glutes will be burning on these lunges!  Once the 20 minute mark hits, drop the weight and go to the stairs.  You can step for 20 minutes around Level 7-10 depending on level of fatigue.  If you don’t have access to a stair mill, you can row, cycle, or even jog again.  The goal is to sweat while being able to hold a conversation.

That’s all for today, folks.  You’ll feel these lunges tomorrow-you’re welcome.  If you don’t, increase your weight next time.  Have you heard of Instacart?  If not, you should check it out.  LIFESAVER.  I grocery shop on my phone and have my groceries delivered to the front door.  No joke.  It saves me thousands of minutes and gallons of gas in the long haul!  CIAO for now.  Next time, I’ll show you the Bear Complex.


The 20/20/20 Medicine Ball Workout | Workout Diaries #2

For those of us who work out on a regular basis, it can get……well, boring.  I constantly change my routine to stay motivated!  Here is a workout that I do almost every week on my own at the gym. The 20/20/20 routine consists of 20 minutes treadmill, 20 minute WOD, and 20 minute steady state cardio on the stairmill.  For the WOD portion, you need a medicine ball of any weight that you choose.  I use the 15.4 lb ball, which makes for a good workout.

20 minute Run/Jog/Intervals

Run, jog, or do springs for 20 minutes. I run about 2.5 miles to warm up and get myself motivated.

Run, jog, or do springs for 20 minutes. I run about 2.5 miles to warm up and get myself motivated.

Continue reading “The 20/20/20 Medicine Ball Workout | Workout Diaries #2” »

At the Beach with No Equipment | Workout Diaries #1

Do you ever feel bored with your workouts, or unmotivated to workout at all?  You’re not alone.  Here is an amazing workout that I do every weekend to combat the monotony of routine.  It’s a combination of plyometrics, calisthenics, and running that you can do almost anywhere.  I like to get outside on the weekends, especially when the weather is beautiful.  Find a park with a bench or some sort of ledge and you’re golden.

  • 2 mile run Buy In

5 Rounds

  1. 20 ledge jumps
  2. 30 air squats (really flattering movement here.  Maybe we should rename these Pop a Squats)
  3. 15 tricep dips
  4. 20 step ups to 3ft ledge (10 each leg)

Here’s what that looks like in a nutshell…..

…..if only 5 rounds went this fast!  Don’t stop.  Pick yourself up and complete the workout with a 2 mile run.

  • 2 mile run Buy Out

At the end of the workout, you’ve run 4 miles and done 100 ledge jumps, 150 air squats, 75 tricep dips, and 100 step ups.  You can replace the 4 mile run with a shorter run or even a fast paced walk if you are working up to a run.  You can also start with 1-2 rounds of this workout and work your way up to 5 rounds.

I’ll post more workouts each weekend!

Yours in Health,





Dear Flag Burners.

Dear Flag Burners,
Meet my late grandfather, J Givens Young. He decided to enlist with the US Army to fight for our country as one of Patton’s foot soldiers. His best friend, Miles Hunter, was a fighter pilot who introduced him to his younger sister-my late grandmother, Florence. They both fought for our country, and Miles was killed in action. My grandfather married Florence and went back to Germany to storm and free Auschwitz. When the war ended, he came home to a safe room and therapy puppies South Carolina and worked his ass off building an empire in the pecan industry.  He was not perfect, but he was a hard working badass who fought for your right to voice your opinion.
My paternal grandfather, Richard A Gilbert, Sr, was a Dartmouth scholar who was slated to swim in the 1940 Olympics when they were cancelled due to WWII. He later went to fight in the Korean War. When he came home, my grandfather went on to become a top executive with McDonnell Douglas and Mead Paper Corporation. He was a hard working scholar athlete who made great sacrifices to protect your freedom of speech.  
My brother in law has dedicated his career to protecting our country. My sister and her family continue to make sacrifices every day to protect your constitutional freedoms.  
I am repulsed and disgusted by the sight of you, flag burners.  You disgrace the many men and women who have given their lives to protect your freedom.  You are a coddled generation with your safe rooms, puppies, and delayed exams.  You are abusing your right to free speech with your disgraceful, destructive behaviors.  You may or may not like the election results, but we live in a democracy.  Thanks to veterans like my grandfathers, you have the right to voice your opinion and peacefully protest.  You do not have the right to break the law or start a civil war in our country.
Try getting a job, or maybe enlisting in the military.  
Oh, and grow the fuck up.

Yours Truly,

The Granddaughter of Two US Veterans
Sister in Law of a Cool Warrior
US Patriot, Regardless of Election Outcome
PS:  The only time the United States flag is lowered close to the ground is when it covers a casket.

Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?

What are your Vitamin D3 levels, my friend?  Do you know?  Do you get regular blood work done to measure important biomarkers?  If not, why not?  You can have blood work done in any consumer based lab these days.  No doctor’s prescription needed.  Blood work is the easiest, most accessible ways to measure important markers in the interest of staying well.

We refer to Vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body is able to “download” Vitamin D3 from the sun.  Of course, this gets challenging during the winter season due to less sun exposure.  People with darker skin synthesize less Vitamin D3 from the sun and are prone to lower levels.  We make less of Vitamin D3 as we get older, so age is also a factor.

Vitamin D3 functions more like a hormone than a vitamin.  It is a precursor to serotonin, the all important mood/sleep/safety neurotransmitter.  Low Vitamin D3 can lead to low serotonin, hence Seasonal Depression.  None of this is new-I wrote about this topic years ago-but it is really important, and I’m surprised most people do not monitor their Vitamin D3 levels.  The results from a study conducted in 2007 suggested that optimal levels of Vitamin D3 and calcium are correlated with a 77% decreased risk for cancer.  “Optimal” was defined as 40ng/mL or above in this study, but later research has suggested even higher levels are optimal.  I keep my levels between 80 and 90 ng/mL.  Continue reading “Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?” »

How to Use Vitamin C to Stay Well | Halloween Tricks with Ascorbic Acid

The worst holiday of the year Halloween is over!  Welcome to one of the busiest weeks of the year at the pediatrician’s office.  Thanks to the massive sugar overload and sheer exhaustion of Halloween on a school night, many kids are wrecked.  Sugar does nasty things to our immune system.  None of us can argue with that.  The more your child eats, the worse the impact, and the more likely to pick up whatever kiddie crud is floating around these days.  Even THE Dr. Sears references the week after Halloween as “one of the busiest week at the pediatrician’s office all year.”

I love parts of Halloween, I really do.  It’s a great reason to throw a party, and dressing up can be a blast.  Yours truly hit a record of 3 different costumes this year, while Savanna had 4.  We celebrated hard!  No regrets.  halloween-2016

The question is this:  how can you celebrate Halloween and stay healthy?

Continue reading “How to Use Vitamin C to Stay Well | Halloween Tricks with Ascorbic Acid” »

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