Armin Van Buuren at Echostage!


Last Thursday, September 24th, a group of my friends and I were privileged to hang out a the stage table for Armin Van Buuren, for an incredible show at Echostage!  Getting a chance to overlook the entire audience and be that close to the action was one of the most amazing experiences you can have in D.C.!

Check out my pics from the show below.  To see video clips (including my Snapchat mashup that made it into the public DC snapchat), click here.

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Miss America Pageant Inspires Doing Good In This World


Last Sunday, I was elated to be invited to attend the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.  As a little girl, I dreamt of being able to go one day and witness that one woman whose life completely changed in a matter of seconds.  It’s one thing to see it on TV and watch a show, but it’s another to be there in-person and feel the energy, the tension, and the excitement.

These 52 women work super hard, in all aspects of their lives, to get to this very moment.  They embody intelligence, a compassion to make others’ lives better, talent, and beauty (both inside and out).  What you see on the screen at home are the celebs, the beautiful women, and a close up of all of the segments that narrow the contestants, down to the winner.  What I saw in-person is entirely different.

I met entourages of friends and family who flew from all over the U.S. (oftentimes small towns), to support a contestant, whether they knew her or not.  I saw pageant winners, of all ages, excited and inspired.  I saw thousands of people, dressed in all sorts of attire, eager to be a part of history.  And, I saw staff and volunteers, work extremely hard, on behalf of these contestants, to give the best experience possible.  When you’re there, the celebs don’t matter, the stage sets don’t matter, and neither do the cameras.  Given that I used to perform, it felt like a recital with a heck of a lot more people.  It made me miss the stage but I digress…

But there were three standout moments that regardless of if you were watching it on TV, or in person, made a huge impact on almost everyone.

  1. Tribute to Military

At the very beginning of the show, they honored military widows.  These selected women were given a day of pampering, followed by an on-stage tribute the evening of the pageant (they also had a 9/11 Memorial tribute concert the day before).  The National Anthem brought people to tears (a small clip can be played below).

2. The Bikini Portion of the Competition

I’m not sure what the viewers at home were able to see but what we saw in person were many REAL women.  Gone are the days of anorexic women from this pageant. Instead, I saw healthy, muscular women, some of whom had a bit of cellulite, walk across the stage, confident and happy.  To me, it was a celebration, as well as an inspiration for girls all over the world.

3. That Monologue Everyone Is Talking About

I will admit, I was one of those that thought it was an odd choice for a talent.  Miss Colorado delivered in a monotone voice that didn’t wow me.  In fact, I commented to my girlfriend that she should have developed story-telling skills before she delivered it.  However, in watching this over again, I see why this was applauded.  Her talent is her passion – she’s a nurse.  She helps people every, single day, and she’s competing to continue to deliver her platform to the world, should she be chosen as Miss America.  What she did was brave and inspiring.

What Happens When The Cameras Stop Rolling

When Miss Georgia was crowned the winner, the cameras stopped rolling, and the audience was leaving the hall, all that was left were celebrations and post-event interviews.  My girlfriend and I stuck around for a little bit to see it.  It reminded me so much of my years of dance competitions and try outs – the public celebrations are moments of pure elation, but you have no idea what’s really going on, and it really hasn’t sunk in.  You kind of go into auto pilot.  But when the throngs of people dissipate, and you’re left with your fellow teammates, coaches, and family surrounding you, it’s when the real moments begin -the ones you remember for the rest of your life.

Two people I’d like to call out in this post:

  1. Haely Jardas (Miss DC) – We were rooting for you!  It takes a lot of hard work to make it to Miss America, and we’re all so proud of you!
  2. Mehrnaz (Alex) Naini – One of my best girlfriends and inspirations is now the official Cosmentic Dentist to the Miss America Organization.  I am so proud of her!  She’s local to MD/DC/VA – so definitely visit her if you’re in the area!

For complete photographic coverage of the event (well, what I took anyway), check out the slide show below.  If you want to see more video snipits, click here.

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Recipe Box: Organic, Healthy Smoothie Recipes!

I’m adding two more delicious organic, healthy smoothie recipes to my recipe box!  Both of them are packed with vitamins and help you feel full.

Peach Mango Coconut Spinach


  • 1 cup of organic spinach
  • 8 fl. oz. of coconut water
  • 1/4 fresh lime
  • 1 serving del monte diced mangos
  • 4 fl. oz. of water
  • 1/2 medium organic peach

Strawberry Banana


  • 1/2 cup plain, fat free yogurt
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries

Making Myself a Priority


All too often I forget about me.  I forget that in order to give my very best to someone else (friends, a potential significant other, family, etc.), I need to keep myself happy, healthy, and thriving.

What we radiate out is what other people see, interpret, and respond to.  When we go out drinking a few nights a week (perhaps we over-served ourselves each time) and we continue this routine for even a month, our bodies start to break down at a cellular level.  Perhaps, we start to feel sluggish, our metabolism starts to slow down, we start to gain weight, and our mood changes.  The same thing can be said for going out to eat all the time, or even using recreational drugs.  The bottom line is, each of us has the power within to revert back to healthier habits at any time, especially if it starts to affect others.

This summer for me was one of more fun than I could have ever imagined.  The opportunities to be around good friends in beautiful settings was abundant.  However, with that comes gluttonous behavior that left me feeling sluggish, slightly heavier, and definitely moodier.  Although I kept working out, I wasn’t meditating as often, I was constantly on the go, and consuming way more alcohol and food than I was accustomed to just a few months before.  I made a vow to myself that when Labor Day hit, I was focusing on me.

In the week and a half following Labor Day, just cutting out hard liquor and mixers alone, along with a healthier diet (no sugar), I’ve lost 5 of the 10 pounds I needed to lose.  I’ve also upped my workout routine, incorporated in healthy shakes once a day, started meditating each morning again, and have carved out time to focus on my writing each evening.  And at least once a week, I take a candlelit bubble bath (you have to pamper yourself)!

To get you started, I’ve included my workout routine and my first homemade shake below.

Workout Schedule

Monday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, 250 plies, 40 pushups, 3 sets of 60 second planks

Tuesday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, 250 plies, 15 lb. dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 12 reps, 55 lb. pull down bar – 3 sets of 10 reps, 10 lb. dumbbell butterflies – 3 sets of 12 reps, 3 sets of 60 second planks, 30 second intervals of the following ab exercises: sit ups, V sit ups, elevated crunches, supine bicycle, plank, twisting crunches, bent leg twist, genie sit, mason twist, and steam engine.

Wednesday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, 40 lb. dumbbell bench press – 3 sets of 12 reps, 15 lb. dumbbell tri lifts – 3 sets of 12, 250 plies

Thursday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, 20 lb ankle weight exercises: front kicks – 3 sets of 10, side lifts – 3 sets of 12, side ninja kicks – 3 sets of 20, back kicks – 3 sets of 10; 40 pushups, 3 sets of 60 second planks

Friday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, repeat Tuesday and Wednesday workouts, 250 plies

Saturday – Elliptical – 30 minutes, 250 plies

Shake Recipe

  • 1/2 cup of fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond vanilla milk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 ounce of chopped walnut

Girlfriends Making Waves: Smile Swag Teeth Whitening

I’m always so proud of my girlfriends and what they accomplish in their lives.  They’ve learned to be fearless leaders in their industries, saying yes to opportunities that open more doors, to even more sparkling futures.

One such lady is my girlfriend Dr. Mehrnaz (Alex) Naini.  Dentist to the athletes, as well as some other very notable patients, she has made waves in the cosmetic dental industry, not just for her cutting-edge procedures, but also her tireless contributions to media, events, and other activities that educate consumers on keeping your smile healthy and fresh.

A few months ago, she launched a small line of products called Smile Swag, geared mostly toward women who want their smile to be and/or appear whiter.

At dinner, she handed me a small box, about as big as what would contain a lip gloss.  Inside was a portable wand of tooth whitener gel, designed to quickly be applied on and in between your teeth, after any stainable food or drink has been consumed.  With regular use, your teeth become whiter. It requires no setting time and no rinse, and even has a hint of minty freshness.



She showed me how easy it is to apply (you only need very little at a time!) and how within seconds it not only contributes to whiter teeth, but dissolves as though you never applied it (unlike those whitening trays that leave you drooling, sitting around for 30 minutes, waiting to be able to rinse and talk).

She also talked about her small line of lip colors and gloss that have a blue-red base.  This universal tone helps your teeth to appear whiter without rubbing off quickly.  And, I have to say, looks flattering on just about everyone!

I know this is just the beginning for her product line, and I couldn’t be prouder or more supportive of her.  If you want to get straight to shopping, click here.

Marrying for a Lifetime of Fun, Not a Sense of Security


A few months ago, a viral post went out, by Heidi Priebe, that changed not only how vows should be written, but also how a married couple should spend their life together.

This post struck a chord with me because it hit on every point of what I always knew marriage should be – a best friendship, in which two people grow TOGETHER to take on the world.

All too often, people get married for the wrong reasons.  It could be that it financially makes sense for security purposes; or you both have been together for years and “it’s time”; or that you just don’t want to be alone.  But what goes missing with these reasons is whether or not your life goals/wants will match your partner’s in the long run. And where it starts is the ability to look inside yourself, pull out your deepest desires, and stick to them.  Being honest with yourself is only going to allow you to be honest with others.  The more you can answer to your own wants and needs, the more you open yourself up to a partner who feels the same way.

So many people are terrified of being alone but what is more terrifying than that is FEELING alone in a BAD relationship (we’ve all been there).  I’ve written so many meditation posts on how to be the best you that you can be – to be comfortable being alone, and happy/excited about the prospect of the right person coming along, but not NEEDING someone else to make you feel a certain way.  Priebe’s post is proof positive that she isn’t willing to settle for someone in order to fulfill a desire that she could certainly provide for herself – what she wants is a best friend to challenge her in life, to make her bolder, brighter, and better than she’s ever been.  THIS is what marriage is about, and no one should settle for anything less.

I know some of you are now commenting to yourself on how hard it is to find someone where you live.  Break the boundaries on it – there are billions of people in this world and the right one might not be living close to where you do. I once saw this movie on Netflix called TiMER.  It’s a fictional romance/comedy on people who have a pheromone device implanted into their arm, and when two people are a match, the timer on their wrist goes off, alarming them to when they will meet their soul mate.  It made me think about the fact that there is someone out there for everyone – the beauty is, they could be anywhere/anyone in the world, it’s just about timing.

So go out there, enjoy your life for yourself, print out those vows and use them as a checklist for life. Remember that you don’t NEED someone to make your life better, WANT someone that will make YOU better.

The Practice of Being Present Brings Abundant Joy


This past weekend was probably one of my favorites of the whole summer.  Everyone had returned from their travels across the world, refreshed and ready to toast to the last few weeks of the summer before the nip in the air becomes a reality.

What made it so amazing was how present everyone was in the moment.  There was no drama, no rowdiness, no excessiveness – just peaceful, happy human beings who completely appreciated who and what was around them.

One of my friends and I talked at length about being present, while boating on the Potomac.  Far too often we are clung to our mobile devices, needing on-demand information of any kind, tuning out the simpler things in life – this includes human connection to not just people but nature as well.  I explained that it’s a practice to put the device away, to be engaging in what surrounds you, and to not let any other thought enter your mind, other than the joy/euphoria you feel from where you are right now. It’s something that should be so simple, yet is so hard for many of us to do.  It’s rare to bring a group together, such as who I was surrounded with last weekend, that understands how to appreciate the simple things in life, yet knows how to make them richer through their energy, passion, and positive attitude.  It’s because of them that I am so thankful, lucky, and elated that I am home.

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Stop Saying This… If You Are a Woman in the Workplace

Three businesswomen

One month ago, an article came out by the Independent Journal Review,  saying that former Google Exec, Ellen Petry Leanse, suggested that women omit the word “just” from their workplace vocabulary. She noticed that when it was being used in a sentence, such as, “I just wanted to check in on…”, it gave off a certain aura of needing permission for something, i.e. emitting a hint of submission.


I decided to try omitting this (as well as empty apologies) from my vocabulary for one month and funny enough, it works.  I started with emails (as practice).  I wrote a common work email, utilizing the semi-professional/casual tone that has become the norm in most companies today.  When I reread it back, I deleted the word “just” anywhere I found it, and then re-read it again.  The tone changed from weak and slightly defensive, to professional and to-the-point.

In the short month I’ve done this, I have found to get more tasks accomplished, as my messages come across as clear asks for what I need, and less about sounding as though I’m tip-toeing around issues.

Conference Calls

The second step was conference calls.  More often than not, we don’t realize the fillers we use in conversations, particularly when we’re on point to speak about something we need to deliver.  I found that when I was conscious of my speech, and the vocabulary (and tone) I was using, I came across as more professional, on-point, and confident, because I wasn’t using some of these weaker words when I spoke.  This, of course, radiated outwards to my peers.  As a result, more work has gotten accomplished, and my confidence level has gone up.

Personal Life Spill-over

When I felt I had mastered my workplace vocabulary changes,  I decided to keep on going with this experiment and try this out with my personal interactions.  And sure enough, I found my interactions, both with networking and with personal friends, a lot more solid.  It brings about a level of confidence that one should radiate, resulting in higher levels of respect, admiration, and willingness to help.  Omitting that one little word can be the difference between an opportunity and a miss.  It can be the difference between a solid connection and a distant acquaintance.

I encourage each of you to take the month challenge, omit words, such as “sorry” and “just”, and see what it does for both your professional and personal lives.

21-Day Meditation Experience: (Day 19) The Path to Total Transformation


“It’s easy to feel grateful when life is going well but it’s hard to do when it’s not.” — Deepak Chopra

This quote is so simple and so true. If you notice, my posting has been on and off, during this 21-day challenge.  The last week has been a bit trying, and although I’ve meditated everyday, I’ve had a hard time being able to write reflection posts from a good place.

We’ve all been there – no matter how positive we try to keep our lives, we’re going to have bad moments where it’s hard to fight back the negativity.  It’s hard to tell yourself, constantly, that everything happens for a reason, and to just have patience.  Me being the impatient, relentless person I am, it’s sometimes a very uphill battle.

Still, we cannot even remotely follow a path to total transformation if we do not welcome the bad with the good. And, it’s all about perspective.  It’s about constantly asking yourself why something happened that you didn’t like, what were you meant to learn from it, and how can you shift your mindset towards the positive for the future?

The more we are able to fully answer those questions, the more illuminated our path to transformation becomes, and the easier it is to manage any negative experiences in the future.


21-Day Meditation Experience: (Day 15) Seeing the Big Picture


All of us are “Agents of Grace”, whether we know it or not.  “Agents of Grace” are able to see the big picture in life – that helping each other is not only the most fulfilling way to live, but also the way the world evolves.  It’s through grace that we are able to “pay it forward” to those in need, bringing a richness to our lives that materialistic goods cannot fulfill.

I have a very close girlfriend, who embodies the definition of being an “Agent of Grace”, by donating her time and resources (2-3 months out of the year) to helping kids all over the world.  As I write this, she is landing in Zambia to bring school and medical supplies to villages who do not have access to what they need to live, grow, and thrive.  Her passion (and heart) for helping these children is the most tremendous I’ve seen.  To those of you who do what you can to help, via donations, you can’t even understand the impact that a box of crayons has on a child, until you witness it first-hand.  My girlfriend has been to some of the poorest villages in the world and she comes back distraught that no matter how much is donated, it’s not enough.  Yet, to that child, they feel tremendously lucky to be given something a first-world kid takes for granted everyday.

Granted, not everyone has the time and resources to do what my friend does.  Being an “Agent of Grace” can mean helping an elderly person with their groceries, it can mean reuniting a stray dog with its owner, it can even mean holding the door open for someone else.  It’s all acts of kindness that are meant to be paid forward, knowing that if these acts of kindness keep getting paid forward, the better the world will be.

So go out and be an “Agent of Grace” – do something unexpected for someone and feel the effects of the happiness you bring – it’s infectious!