Archive for the 'Health & Fitness' Category

My Awesome Clients, Your Well Fed Kids

Andrea and Peter Gradwohl have started a new business to help our kids eat great lunches. Fantazimo caters to your kids, literally. All for less than $5!
They were featured on Evening Magazine too.

Happy Birthday to my 82 Year Old Dad. He’s Superman, Wielding Unconditional Love

Here comes the eccentric neighborhood activist decked out in Rollerski gear, even though the streets of Chicago are still icy. That’s my dad. Still running, swimming and/or biking nearly each day of the week, Dad has always loved to be active and adventuresome. In the last few years he went biking in Europe, biked the West Coast on Highway 1, bused to Washington DC to protest, and is planning his next bike trip with my cousin Jerry. Granted I am getting a bit more worried about him, especially after his dip in the Danube, bike and all. While a bit more cautious, and certainly slower, Dad remains dedicated to his active lifestyle and true to his personable, adventuresome spirit.

Beyond nurturing his eccentricities and devoting himself to multiple causes, my Pop finds time to show how much he loves me. I’ve never doubted it. Truly blessed am I to know the meaning of unconditional love. I hope to be able to share the security this brings with my own little bambina. Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for the gift.

Personal Trainer Bootcamp at Greenlake- The Healthy Goddess

50 or more of these lunges lets me know I still have muscles in my buttBefore The Healthy Goddess, Christi Masi created The Healthy Bride. Herself beautiful, fit, and athletic, Christi is clever enough to make a living helping others maintain or create their own positive self-image. And If there is anyone who wants to look good, it’s a bride. Twice each week future brides join Christi at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park to get in the shape of their lives to celebrate the happiest day of their lives.

BUT WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE WEDDING? Christi found women disinterested in socializing with future brides once no longer belonging to this special club. Hence, The Healthy Goddess. Then even further beyond these newlywed women are women like me who put themselves more in the category of “Recovering Moms”. If there has ever been a group in desperate need of a little kick in the booty camp, its members of THIS club. Move over you trim, fit, gorgeous brides. Here come the rest of us huffing up the hill in hopes of surviving another of Christi’s intense workouts.

Their is nothing like a little camaraderie to inspire me to get out of bed at 5:30 for a rain or shine workout. Even better is having a committed and inspired trainer like Christi Masi creating workouts step by step so my still sleeping brain can relax while the rest of me works toward looking even better than on my wedding day. Or at least better than yesterday. See you at the Greenlake track at 6am SHARP!

Hurry Up and Relax. No friends necessary at Olympus Spa

In the ever-present struggle to regain balance between personal and professional life, life as momma to Ellie and wife to Tim, Thursday night has been carved out as “MY” night. Granted one Thursday each month I’m at an informative PUG meeting, or an educational Woodland Park 3-5s co-op meeting, or occasionally an inspiring Soulumination meeting. Still, 1 to 3 nights each month are for doing as I please. This tiny freedom rejuvenates.

I usually spend that time with friends, so much do I miss being social. Now it’s easiest to build friendships with other working moms who are also motivated to go around Greenlake at 8:30 in the pitch blackness.

But last Thursday, oh my! I had forgotten the sheer pleasure of nestling into the warm sands of Olympus Spa. Blissful, rare relaxation overcomes me as I bake in the mud & jade room, then cool down to warm in the charcoal room. I don’t know the exact purpose of these “earth energy” rooms. Who cares about energy anyway. Give me it’s antithesis!

Then into the mugwort steamroom. Yuck. Slimy on the butt! Might that be why they gave me an extra tiny towel? With towel in place, mind off the slime, my pores couldn’t be happier, my breathing easier. To cool off, into the freezing waterfall pool. Gasp! Then into the hottest of the pools to soak before I have a 50 minute Korean body scrub.

jaderoom.jpg large_6330951295437405930794.jpg waterfall.jpg

1) Mud & Jade room 2) Relaxation lounge with foot message 3) Waterfall pool surrounded by 3 other warm to hot pools.

Why work if you can’t splurge now and then? Use of the spa for a day is $35 in Lynnwood, $30 in Tacoma. The bodyscrub is $65/60 Lynnwood/Tacoma. I’m so happy Tim and I figured out a way to have some time for each of us. I’m ready for another week.

Ummm, Ummelina!

Granted, my first impression was tainted. I rushed full boar to get to Ummelina International Day Spa. Hurry up and relax. My life’s motto.
Still, I had been savoring the thought of this day. Knowing I have a message as often as schedule allows, the talented Heather Quintans gave me this incredibly generous gift after photographing her family. (No bonuses please! Just tell your friends.)
Chik and Heather Quintans’ adorable family. Thank you, from every muscle and tendon in my body!

Feeling good to arrive on-time after a hectic day, I was confused upon entering the building. Where do I enter? Then I had to wait 20 minutes to simply access a dressing room.
From then on, Ummm. Soft light, calming music, lightly scented candles dancing from nooks and crannies. The best part was the divine Molly McMartin, Massage Guide extraordinaire. In a co-ed parlor (bring you sweetheart!) she starts with a lightly scented foot soak and hydrating rub. Then off to the private room. Heat pad under torso, heated towl on my back, she begins applying just the right pressure to the carefully chosen spots. She asked good questions and listened intently. After leaving in a state above reality, I was led next door to the private Monsoon Shower, stocked with many of Ummelina’s bath products. Finally, we end the session back in the parlor, heated neck pillow seeping into my much used shoulders. (Think “heavy camera bag”.)

Congratulations to Ummelina’s on their new business location: Yakima WA wine country, nestled inside the same building as the Hilton Garden Inn! This means you can use the pool and exercise equipment too.  Take a dip, sip some wine, message divine! Hope to see you there!

Winter Scents at the Washington Park Arboretum

I love being outside. My two year old and I share an interest in nature, and plants especially.

While most of my clients don’t want to go to the arboretum this time of year, this is my favorite time. Not only are the textures layered in a contrast of velvet and gloss, the scents are Divine! If you haven’t smelled the Daphne Odora, Witch Hazel, or Jasmine this time of year, get to the Washington Arboretum‘s Winter Garden. Inhale deeply and forget your worries. Inhaling, I think of my late mother who was always either filling her lungs with garden scents, or sighing in despair that she couldn’t spend all of her time outside. The woes (and thrills) of a garden addict run in our blood!

Ellie at base of old tree, washington park arboretum

Ellie climbs base of old tree, washington park arboretum

Ellie among Witchhazel hellebores,  washington park arboretum

Hood Canal Frolic. Thank Goodness for Rubber Boots

Admittedly, I like indulging in pampering as much as the next person, like going to the spa at Alderbrook Resort. But often I want to be outside all day. Then I care less about the accommodations than the surrounding landscape. On vacations like these I don’t need a spa to apply toenail polish when toes are propelling forward my hiking boots. (Not that having pretty feet at the end of the day hurts either!)

Perfect for outdoor-centered vacations, Forest Service Cabins provide cozy shelter, complete with an equipped kitchen. And boy is the price right!

Kerry McKean and Marcela Touskova invited us to join them Thanksgiving weekend at Hamma Hamma Cabin near Hood Canal. I was excited by the possibilities. Bonding between our 3 adventuresome girls, introducing them to new hiking locations, and exploring animal life along the Canal was just the beginning. Little did we know it would snow, making the weekend all the more enchanting. Unprepared without winter attire, I didn’t motivate to shoot, only play in the snow. What is evident in the photos is my appreciation for stopping at Rising Stars to purchase new rubber boots.

Alma in Hat

Ellie in Puddle

Alma all Wet

Overflow Puddle

Kerry Marcela at Hood Canal


There Once Was a Crazy New Mom, Who Now Sees the Bright Light of Dawn

The search for child care for Ellie escalated a long cycle of chaos that had engulfed my life since pre-conception. (More later on fertility issues.)

When Ellie was merely 6 weeks old, my do-it-all former Studio Manager, Francie, left JKP and is now traveling the world. I had planned to take maternity leave for one month, and 3 more months with a highly-reduced shooting schedule. Ahh, the best laid plans.

Covering shoots for two people and caring for current and potential clients was only the beginning. I also spent time writing new employee ads, posting them, interviewing, all while pumping breast milk (while talking on the phone to clients! “What’s that sound”). Twice per day Kathy brought Ellie to the studio, or Tim brought Elle to longer shoots for breast feeding.

Meanwhile I was in the midst of going 90% digital, (I can’t give up my Hasselblad!) and being forced to find a new photo lab. I was climbing the steep digital and PhotoShop learning curve and researching new processes, products and labs, when I made the crazy but inevitable decision to buy new gear and computers. I usually find new gear exploration fun and exciting. But this time, sleep deprivation and craving to spend more time with Ellie exacerbated my stressed system resulting in– you guessed it: an abstract painting of utter CHAOS!

Thank goodness for First Weeks. In addition to the soothing environment, I found our babysitter, Kathy, when her sister-in-law brought her to a First Weeks meeting. (More on First Weeks and Ann Keepler to come). I saw Kathy across the room, read her body language and thankfully trusted my first instincts (though I did check references!). Kathy helped me spot the bright light of dawn, and provided a welcomed sense of calm. She’s been with us ever since July of ’04.

You’re the best, Kathy!

Ballard Health Club for Friends, Fitness and Pregnancy

Fresh back from my 6:30 am workout, I feel relaxed and satisfied. Each morning I walk into Ballard Health Club bleary eyed but happy to be there. Wonderful personal and professional relationships are made easily here where most people are comfortably dressed, quick to make eye-contact, give a nod, a hello or a smile. I could talk about the facility, but it’s really the people that make it so comfortable and unique.

Yoga is a highlight at Ballard Health Club. I love Tracy Hodgeman and Heather Rudin for stamina building, and thoughtful personalized input. Both use soothing voices and music. They’re about to go on their annual Yoga Retreat in Mexico.

Kerry DeMartini hosts a relaxing, smooth class. I took her class until I was 9 months pregnant. While I took Tracy’s Power Yoga until 8 months pregnant, I should have stopped sooner. Power Yoga used more upper body power than I had while carrying my extra pregnancy pounds. After 7.5 months I left this challenging class fatigued.

Even in late pregnancy, Kerry is awesome. It’s easy to feel special in Kerry’s class because she gives alternatives to anyone who might need them.

If you make the 6:30 am yoga class, say hello.

Hoar Frost, Romance, and Building Friendships at Skalitude in Methow Valley.

This morning we woke up to an enchanting Hoar Frost engulfing Methow Valley, glistening as far as we could see.

Tim and I, along with our 2.5 year old, Ellie, are here to indulge in scenic cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding. We’re staying for the third time at Skalitude, a comfortably rustic cabin in Carlton. The owners are Lindsey and Will, who have 160 acres surrounded on four sides by NFS lands. They groom trails on their property, and often on the adjacent land. This is winter wonderland at its best.

Unlike the truly rustic (but also wonderfully beautiful) Rendezvous hut to hut ski system, Skalitude is barely rustic, and thoughtfully Green. The bamboo floors are heated, and all electricity is from solar panels. While the room and oven heat is from wood, Lindsey and crew take care of stocking the wood, including for the wood-burning sauna. Oooh Ahhh.

Skalitude cabin and sauna



To top off the feeling of (better-than) home, Dogs are welcome!!!


Peace Full



Today we’ll be joined by two other families we’ve been getting to know over the past year plus. We all met in Sarah Nishioka’s Music Together class. (Ellie still loves it after nearly two years!) Sarah teaches both at the PNA and Music Center of the Northwest. Both programs are great.

While initially we were terribly disappointed when both couples had to miss the first night, all happens for a reason. I sure do love my husband!

We’ll keep coming back, with or without our dogs, friends, kids, and/or snow. This is a special place.

And yes, Skalitude welcomes weddings.

Music Together Gang