Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Hungary

Not to be confused with hungry, as in, I'm hungry, but as in, I am back from Hungary and with many a tale...or at least one of Jet lag. (Boy is that a lot of commas and run-on-ness there?)

Szeged Hungary to be exact. A lovely town 2 hours outside of Budapest, full of gorgeous architecture, healing baths, mineral springs, paprika and a salami museum (who knew?). My opera colleagues and I embarked on this adventure Nov. 12th (a Wednesday) and traveled from NYC to Paris (6 hour flight there with a 4 hour lay over in Paris) then from Paris to Budapest (2 hour flight) and then a 2 hour bus ride to Szeged where we would be competing in the Mezzo Television Opera Festival and Competition. I believe all in all we arrived in Szeged officially on Thursday (and pretty much collapsed, ate and then collapsed again until we had to be up the next day for rehearsal).

Friday consisted of Breakfast followed by 12 hours of rehearsals to prepare us for our Live Television Performance for the next day (Saturday)...It was quite exhilarating AND successful as the audience response was more than positive with many ovations by the end. Following our live performance on Saturday, we attended a reception where our production and staff were greeted with champagne and smiling faces. On Sunday we reprised our performance to another sold-out audience and said good by to our much loved opera, Emmeline (which we have been involved with since this last August). Monday was our "day off" with time to wander about Szeged, a few brave souls took a train to Budapest and back in time for the Awards Ceremony and Gala that night at the opera house. Our leading Soprano and Tenor both won top awards and we were so thrilled to walk away with such honors.

I did get away a few times through out the week to experience beautiful Szeged...eating hot cherry soup, veal stew with egg dumplings, pork steak with mushroom rice, artichokes & olives, and many other wonderful meals that included lamb and veal. Generally the veggies with our meals consisted of being battered and deep fried and/or served with a cheese sauce...not necessarily the healthiest of eats, but tasty :) Oh and the Paprika...Szeged is known for their paprika and everything was served with it, including my morning eggs (delish!) Another interesting fact is that Szeged is apparently also know for their salami and that experience can be fully realized by visiting the Salami Museum (which I missed on this trip).

We finally left Tuesday morning from Szeged, full of Goulash and hungover from our celebrations of the week. Thus we embarked...1st with our 2 hour bus trip to Budapest, then a 2 hour flight from Budapest to Paris...then ANOTHER 4 hour lay over in Paris (in which we got in some fun shopping) until our 7 hour flight from Paris to NYC (the extra hour is because we were flying against the jet stream)...and finally arriving home Wednesday night at JFK and back to our loved ones. The Maestro in fact met me at the airport and took me home, cuddling all the way *sigh* such a great guy :D

I'll post more pics as the come, but until then, here's the share:

Lay-Over in Paris Airport (I think we're loosing it)


Me and my girl Dina having our first Hungarian Coffee (Irish coffee for me actually as she sipped espresso.)

Behind cool seats that were made of our leads for the opera festival


me and some of the girls at our Opening Night Reception.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sicky McSickster

That's right, it's official I'm sick. The clear mucus is now a lovely shade of green-yellow and I can't hardly hear due to the stuffiness of my ears...Thus meaning, no working-out...I've been ordered by personal trainer Jake to take it easy and not make myself sicker. So I'm going to suck it up and take his advice. Oh, and I got the other Bex sick she is now on her way home from work with fever and stuffy nose to find some much needed Tylenol and rest. Sorry Bex...I didn't mean to give you my germs :(

On the singing front: I leave for Hungary in 8 days (less, since this day is almost gone). I'm excited and hoping to be healthy and kicking by the time I have to board the plane to wish me luck, and here's to taking it easy.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Swamp Thing

I'm a snarling, mucus covered thing from the swamps of Louisiana...I am Swamp Thing...or at least that's how I feel with the way my nose keeps running...ugh! I hate being sick...I mean who actually enjoys it? I just want to go home and sleep until it all passes.

I did work-out yesterday, even with the constant drip, drip, dripping of my breathing wasn't so bad. In fact I actually felt better for a while after my work-out, but then by the time I got home and was laying on the couch, I collapsed by 8pm. At 8:30pm I forced myself to wake-up and stay awake until 10pm so that I wouldn't mess up my sleep I wish I had put myself to bed at 8. I have a feeling I could have used the sleep.

Today I feel worse, so my cold is progressing and hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. I really just want to go home early and rest, I'm having serious problems just keeping my head up at my desk. Unfortunately, leaving early is not much of an option with me being the only assistant in this area today (and yesterday). I'm also supposed to do cardio today...I don't know how I'm going to get through that...I'll just have to gage myself and keep my heart rate up as much as possible. *whine, grumble, whine*

I cancelled my vocal coaching yesterday, and I may have to cancel my lesson for tomorrow, but I hate to do that, what if I'm better and would benefit from it? Cancelling lessons is always a tricky call. You want to show your dedication to the craft, and to your teacher, but you also don't want to get your teacher, you have to learn to sing through illness, because as much as you'd like to think you'll always be in perfect health, you're not, and you have to learn to sing through it...and by you, I mean me :) I'll discuss with the Maestro and ask his opinion since he plays for my teacher and my lessons...he always gives pretty sound advice.

I still haven't finished re-reading Jillian's "Making the Cut" but I'm almost there. I just wonder if it's worth starting a 30 day program with me leaving for Hungary in 9 days. I don't know if I could maintain such a structured program in a different country with cuisines that I can't even pronounce. That's something I'm really going to have to look into and discuss with my program partner Bex.

As you can tell I'm not in the most decisive frame of mind today. Everything's so blurry, sneezy and runny that I can't hardly think, much less make a decision...this weird sickness fog has go to pass...I really do feel lousy.

Other than my whining, I don't have much to say in the way of motivation or inspiration...but have a good day anyways :)


Monday, November 2, 2009

Making The Cut

I know...I've been very neglectful this last week...sorry :(

Currently I'm battling a nasty little cold that's going to cause my nose to either run itself to ruin or blow itself to oblivion *waah!* Other than the cold that I'm wrestling with, all else is going pretty well healthwise. Bex and I have completed week 4 of our exercise and nutrition program and are now embarking on week 5. This week I'm am reassessing our diets and work-outs. As soon as my assessment is done, I will probably change things up to get our motors running at full throttle.
I'm re-reading Jillian Michaels "Making the Cut" and seeing if this is going to be the new direction we will embark on in our fitness plan. I read it once before and was very intimidated by it, but this time around, I think I can tackle it head on...even if I don't know what half the exercises mentioned in the book No but seriously, the book is pretty good at instructing you what each exercise is and how to do it, and Jill gives you a detailed program to follow which takes most of the guess work out of the equation. I feel like this may be the boost we need to get our muscles screaming and our bodies toning. We've both had success so far on our current regiment with a 9-10 lb. loss for each of us, but now it's time to crank it up a notch and take it even further. Bex and I both have really fab fitness goals that we want to achieve, and perhaps Jillian can help get us there... For the first time in my life, I feel really empowered (even in my sick-y, cold-y, state of mind), so empowered by what Bex and I have achieved in these past four weeks that I feel like we can accomplish anything. I know we can do this hardcore program of JM's and really kick some @$$!!!...yeah, even WITH a cold! The rule for working out while sick is neck up is fine, neck down, stay I'm fine to hit the gym unless the cold travels south. Also when sick, make sure to drink tons o' water and get lots of good sleep (which is a no brainer, but it's me with my insane schedule, which isn't so crazy this week...Thank God.)
On the singing front, I leave for Hungary in 10 days and will return on the 18th. Hopefully I can get my butt extra healthy so that I survive the jet lag and all the germs that come with planes and traveling. Eating healthy over there is going to be a little bit tricky, but I'll try to figure out how to salvage that when I'm there and see the options. For exercise, I'll probably not have access to a gym, but I think I can pack some hand weights, grab my portable DVD player and bring along my Jillian Michaels' dvd's in order to have my butt kicked while on my working vacation...oh yeah, that reminds me that I need to buy an adapter for all my plug-in thingies for over there.
Originally, "Boheme" rehearsals were to begin this month with Opera Manhattan, but instead our show has been switch with "Hansel & Gretel", so now they're in December and we're in April. No just gives me more time to recover from my cold and more time to solidify my role as Musetta. Plus H&G is such a lovely opera to do for the Christmas Holidays, even if it is a bit scary...that's right, it can be a terrifying story if done right :)
Ok, so now I'm off to doing some day job work...and a little H&G production stuff. Have a great day, and get your flu shot!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

There and Back Again

I'm back from tour and I am glad to be home...can you say exhausted. Thankfully I had and took the option of a day off yesterday and found much need rest. However, I do find myself still really tired and I'm so not motivated to go to the gym today. Bex and I have been sticking with it, we actually met and did upper body weight training yay for us. Which means today is cardio...I'll be going at lunch *said as she sips her coffee in hopes the caffeine will get her there*. I literally can't keep my eyes open and the desk job isn't helping. I also over booked myself for today, so now I'm stuck scrambling to create a workable schedule...I'm afraid I'm going to have to drop my coaching for after work today due to a rehearsal that is called earlier than I originally thought...ugh...guess my brain isn't functioning at the best of levels.

The tour went well this weekend despite the fact that everyone, including the lead soprano was getting sick...but not to fear, she sang beautifully and the audience loved every last bit it seems. Another interesting opera tidbit: It looks as if the Boheme I'm doing in December is being moved back to March/April...I'm currently awaiting the official word from the company. Oh well, that just means I've more time to really get the role into my body...who would complain about that?

This week's schedule is a bit crazy, yesterday was upper body, a Boheme coaching and a meeting with management, then today is cardio, then a repertoire coaching (if I can schedule it right), followed by Emmeline rehearsal, then tomorrow is lower body, a voice lesson, and hopefully home to take care of some errands, Thursday is cardio again, then a co-workers birthday party (which probably puts me at home around 10 or 11ish...hopefully no later), Friday is upper body again with Bex after work, then home to cook and prep our place for the big Costumed Halloween Party the Maestro and I are throwing on Saturday night...whew...and yes, this is all on top of my day job. I actually don't think I'd know what to do with myself if I had a free moment...knowing me I'd probably fill it.

I believe we're at the part of our nutrition and fitness program where we start losing focus and motivation. We are currently in week 4 and finding ourselves happy with the progress so far (about 9 lbs. each and new clothes found in the old one's we couldn't wear before), but also a bit tired and bored with our work-outs and food choices. So during this week we will try to be inventive with our menus and discuss how we're going to tweak our work-outs so that we can continue the progress. The real test will be maneuvering our way through the upcoming Holiday's starting with Halloween this weekend. I plan on making my sugar-free, lo carb Almond Cookies and my sugar-free, lo carb Pumpkin Cheesecake for the party and provide a crudites platter and other healthy party food options. However, there will be drinking, so we will have to remember to be moderate if we choose to participate in libation.

Ok, so now off to my next meal and back to the day job. Have a great day folks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Lost in Jeopardy...Baby...Oooooh...

I want to give a big shout out to Mickela Mallozzi, our Masala Bhangra instructor at NYHRC. Bex & I took her Masala Bhangra class last night and I have to say, it really is quite the work-out. About halfway through the class, Bex and I were comparing colors, as in who had a more purple face...I think I won in that area (perhaps purple is a little dramatic, I give you... magenta). I was also shocked at how soaked my gym clothes were when I got home last night as I was taking them out of my gym bag...OMG, they were absolutely you KNOW we had a great time and definitely got our butts kicked without even noticing. That's the lovely thing about this class, it's so much fun and the music is so great, you don't even realize you're working out. Now don't mistake know your sweating, breathing hard and having a few cramping side pains as your legs feel as if they're going to fall off, but it really doesn't seem like least not in the boot camp, Phys. Ed. sort of way, and I like that! I have always loved to dance, and what a fun way to get in your activity for the day. Sadly, it looks like I'm going to miss class next week due to an event conflict, but I should be back the following week...assuming Boheme rehearsals don't conflict.

Yeah, I'm about to start getting ridiculously busy with the Opera work...I've got Boheme rehearsals starting in November, plus I leave for Hungary for a week to sing in the Mezzo TV Competition...It's crunch time kids!

Today is upper body weight training once again...this is the one day of our training program that Bex and I try to do together, besides our dance class. We need spots for the chest & some of the shoulder exercises, but we also seem to motivate each other to go beyond where we'd normally go on our's a nice compromise. (Not to mention she's cute and lovely to have around...and I'm not just saying that in case she's reading this blog...hehe.) After our work out I have to run up to mid-town for an Opera Manhattan meeting. We're discussing the finishing touches for this Sunday's Anniversary Gala...if you'd like to come, it's Free Admission and you can get the information at and click on the orange Gala button underneath their flash show. Unfortunately I won't be there as I will be on tour with Rigoletto this weekend...oh well, I'll still get my opera fix ;)

Tomorrow I leave for tour and still have to get in my final work-out for the week. The plan is to awaken around 8ish and do a quick "Shred" from 9-9:30am, pack for tour (if I don't do it tonight), shower and get ready from 9:30-10:30am and then go for a nice brunch from 10:30-11:30am before heading to the City to be on the Tour Bus by 12:30pm. The eating is going to be tricky while on tour, but Bex and I went to Whole Foods and picked up some individually packaged organic almond butter to use in a pinch and I can always eat omelets, salads and straight up protein on the I should be ok.

Monday 10/26 marks the beginning of week 4. In this week we will evaluate our fitness level, how we're doing and see if we need to tweak the program and/or change it up a bit to shock the body. I believe that I'm ready for something new and/or different in my training regiment, as I'm not really getting sore anymore after my work-outs...thus it's time to push myself further...there's nothing like feeling the good sore after a good work-out. I may even inlist the help of my personal trainer friend Jake and see what suggestions he can give inorder to up the ante in our ever evolving fitness regiment.

I must say that I'm really proud and excited that we've stuck with our program for the past three weeks without missing a work-out or cheating on our diet plan...Kudos to us...Congrats the two Becca's. I can't wait to see how far we can take this and what kind of "sick" shape we can get into...did I mention excited?...YAY!!!

Ok, so now that my caffeine has apparently kicked in, I'm back to my regularly schedule day job.

Have a great day,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Balle Balle

V's birthday party last night was at a lovely steak place in Astoria, NY. Bex & I stuck to our plan and split a really delicious NY Strip with asparagus & spinach on the side. I finished the meal up with a decaf latte and it was just enough to keep me from craving dessert. Our reservations were at 7:30, however we didn't get out of there until 10:30 and thus I didn't get home until after 11...meaning bedtime was 11:30, but I couldn't fall asleep until 1am...UGH! So needless to say, I am very tired today. I really wanted my 7 hours of sleep last night...oh well, birthdays are very special things, and you shouldn't rush through life if you can help it.

Yesterday I did guerilla cardio. Seeing as how I got up to 8.0 on the treadmill last time, I started at a higher level this time, and so now the bar is set at 8.0 for now as the finishing interval speed. I think I'll try to work my way up to 10 (how high does the machine go? there anything after 10?) If there isn't anything after level 10, then it must mean I'll be going longer at the higher intensity levels OR start adding in the incline if my knees can handle it. Eh, I'll just experiment to figure out the right mix.

Today we continue on with our Masala Bhangra class from last week. I have to say it definitely got the blood pumping, so much so, that my face was purple for an hour afterwards...let's hope we get just as good of a work-out as before. Afterwards I have a date with the Maestro to go shopping for new slacks for him and some unmentionables (I guess I just mentioned it) for me. And since we're mentioning it, this shopping trip is a much needed one. He and I are both at an in between stage with our big clothes being too big, but our small clothes not quite fitting. If you've ever worn undies that were too big on you, you can understand the maddening effect it has on you...I mean there's nothing worse than being afraid that your drawers are going to fall down around your ankles as your walking down the street! TMI? Meh.

Anywho, I'm off for my second cup of coffee...I think this may be a caffeine induced kind of day.

Have a great one.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday V

I got my 7 hours of sleep last night, and it was nice. However, I was not ready to get up this morning...I wanted more. That tells me that I have to be more consistent with my sleep in order to feel refreshed when I awaken. Ah sleep, a lovely, lovely inactive activity...How I do enjoy it when I can get it...yes I'm still talking about sleep. I'll try again tonight to get at least 7 hours, but that all depends on the events of the evening.

Wow...This Photo is really distracting, but so cute:

Today's schedule includes cardio at 12ish pm, then back to the day job, and after work I have my voice lesson from 5-6pm followed by a birthday dinner for my friend V (reservations are at 7:30pm). This is V's last year in her 20's and she wants to celebrate with a big steak dinner followed by drinks. My girl Bex and I have already come up with the plan on how to dodge temptation, sabotage, and all around scary choices. Are plan consists of splitting a steak with 2 green veggies as the sides, no wine, and no we have each other there to help keep each other strong. So I know tonight we'll stay on the plan, and hopefully it won't be a late night as I would like to get home and go to bed at a decent hour.

So far the eating and the exercise are on course and it seems that I'm finding my groove in this whole new lifestyle. When I do start introducing more "carbs" back into my diet, I think I may leave gluten out as I always feel rather lousy when I eat it. There are so many foods out there that contain gluten, that people don't even know they're eating the labels peeps, always know what you're putting into your body. The great thing about living in NYC is that there are so many options for eating and if one wants to avoid the dreaded gluten gunk, you can find everything from gluten free cupcakes to one has to give up anything, just make smarter choices :) I generally like to stick to the rule that I will eat mostly whole, natural, unprocessed foods if I can get it...and if it's organic, even better. The simpler the food, the simpler the planning. You can't go wrong with fresh veggies and easy and so yummy...I especially love roasting my veggies with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, it really brings out the flavor.

I've rambled enough about food, time to get back to work. Have a great day everyone...and once again, Happy Birthday V.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ok...Week 3 Day 2...and boy am I feeling it. I am so ridiculously tired today, that I can hardly function. I am definitely looking forward to getting my Lower Body Weight Training out of the way today at lunch so I can go home and crash after work. I've got to get more sleep, no matter what (a common theme in this blog it seems). Studies have shown that in order for your metabolism to keep humming along and for the muscles to repair and rebuild, that you must have 7-8 hours of sleep...8 being optimal. When you get 6 or less or even 9 or more (that's a lot of or's ), your metabolism basically comes to a screeching halt as your ghrelin (the hunger hormone) spikes to make you consume more calories. Your body thinks it needs more food to supply sufficient energy, thus you end up in a vicious cycle of not enough sleep and too much to eat. Ghrelin also spikes when your stressed due to our evolutionary make-up to the fight or flight tendencies, and I know that when I'm over tired, that it's easy for me to get over stressed. Thus, this girl needs to get some serious sleep.

Yesterday's guerilla cardio session was amazing....I ended up adding 4 more high intervals to my work-out, bringing my running up to 8.0 on the treadmill. I felt strong and I can tell my endurance is increasing...that's always exciting! As mentioned above, today is my Lower Body Weight Training which includes Abs...I look forward to this day as it only takes about 20 minutes or so in the gym where I can just hit it and's almost like a day off ;) I also may be increasing weight today on some of my exercises, as I'm finding that I'm pushing through some of them too easily and I've got to keep challenging my muscles. Oh, as for stats, I'm down 8 lbs. since starting this program 2 weeks ago. My clothes fit much better and I'm feeling far so good...the hard work is paying off.

On the opera side of things, I sang at an outreach concert last night with Opera Manhattan and it was a huge success. There were 3 other singers and we sang popular arias for a crowd of elderly folks who love opera...they were truly the best audience ever, and even sang along at some points. Its so nice to sing for such an appreciative and supportive group. We all had so much fun that we can't wait to go back and sing for them again.

Not much to say in the way of inspirational thoughts today...but that's my brain in a nutshell at the moment. It's hard to be clever when you can barely see straight. (I'm being a bit dramatic, but you get the gist).

Have a great day,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Making the Excuse To Do It!

Odd thing has happened these past couple of weeks...I have found that I am capable of prioritizing my work-outs and nutrition. Before, I've either been really good with the diet or the exercise, but rarely at the same time in such a successful manner. Today I celebrate the start of week 3 on my program. So far Bex & I haven't missed a work-out, nor have we slipped on our eating plan. That's never happened...I don't think I've ever worked-out 6 consecutive days in a row before (except for a quick 30 Day Shred stint, that lasted 10 days before a break)...and I definitely haven't ever gotten through the dread 2nd week...but I DID! I did it! I got through week 2 without missing a work-out! So what's changed...what allowed me to find this motivation? Let's break it down:

  • Having a buddy (Bex, and no I'm not talking in the "royal we" context) in the gym and doing this plan with me has been a HUGE help. We keep each other accountable and make sure we're exercising and sticking with the authorized eats. Plus it's nice to have someone suffering with you, so when you complain about how sore you are, they're right there with you sympathizing instead of thinking your some kind of whiny little pansy.
  • Making a plan. I can't state it enough: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I know you've probably heard that way too many times and it seems sort of fitness market jargon-y, but it's sooo true. We sat down and made out a plan for the next 6-12 weeks...we created a meal plan that cut out processed carbs, sugars and crap and has us eating 5-6 times a day...AND we created a fitness plan that consists of working out 6 days a week with alternating programs (i.e. upper body weight training on Monday, cardio on Tuesday, lower body weight training on Wednesday, cardio on Thursday, upper body weight training on Friday, cardio on Saturday, rest on Sunday, and then start with lower body weight training on Monday, etc... you get the idea).
  • Which leads to changing it up. If I did the same work-out day in and day out, not only would the monotony drive me to run myself right off the treadmill, but I also wouldn't see much in the results area. By changing it up, it allows my body / muscles to rest in certain areas, while I concentrate on new also keeps my brain engaged. I like throwing in a new dance class here and a yoga class there...always challenging my mind and body with something that's different. And we need to shock the body to see mix it up, it's fun and it works the bod in a great way.
  • Making Fitness & Nutrition a priority! With my crazy busy schedule, I had to make my health a priority, like I do with any important appointment, appearance, rehearsal, performance, lesson, coaching, etc. in my life. This is my body, my product, my life we're talking about. I'm the most important thing in my life...hello...with out ME, there is no life...gotta keep healthy and kicking. Thus I schedule in my eating and my exercise everyday. It's a standing appointment that I cannot miss and if something comes up, then I fit it in accordingly. No more making excuses as to why I can't work-out...only excuses as to why I MUST work-out. Excuse, me, I'll be there, but I have a standing appointment at the gym first and then I'll be able to take care of XYZ. Get the point? No excuses when it comes to your health! That is the most important thing in your life...yes, even before your kids or your job...because with out it, you can't take care of anything, especially if you're not taking care of YOU! Besides it doesn't hurt to look pretty dang good either.
So now to week 3...I'm looking forward to continuing my stint of fitness. The week is already scheduled and ready to go! I'm actually, another first. Have a great week kids, and do something good for you today!

My Best,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Masala Bhangra P.I.

Yesterday was my first Masala Bhangra class, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it AND it was quite the work-out. The instructor started us of simple enough and then built on the foundation where by the end of the class we were doing a whole Bollywood dance scene. My friend KV commented that it was the first class she ever took where she wasn't watching the clock and counting down the minutes...and in her book that's quite the class. All in all everyone got a good work-out while having a blast!

After the class was finished we adjourned to the locker room and I attempted to get ready for the book signing party that I was to attend by 7. After cleaning up and several passes of powder on my magenta face, I hopped on the subway and was at the bookstore in no fact I arrived there before the rest of my party, so all was well.

The book signing was for a new book called "Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts" by CiCi McNair. It's basically a memoir of the crazy and exciting life of Ms. McNair and her experiences from country to country as a female private investigator. She did some readings from the book as we (they, not me, sipped wine and noshed), and not only does it sound like an interesting book, but it sounds quite humorous as well. I'm looking forward to reading it.

After the signing, in which I did get my copy signed, my group and I headed off to dinner, however unable to agree on a place in that area, we headed back up to an old favorite on the Upper Westside. It was unfortunately getting late, and seeing as how I was running low on sleep and energy, I opted to head home and get some much needed R&R instead. Very happy I did, for I feel a bit better today than yesterday.

Now it's Friday, and the beginning of a busy Opera weekend and the continuation of my fitness program. So far so good with no slips and I've hit the gym everyday this week (HARD)...I'm proud of what Bex & I have accomplished and I'm looking forward to seeing how long we can keep it up!
Hope you're seeing great success in everything you do.

Have a great day,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whine & Cheese

I'm feeling a bit "under the weather" today. This is the 4th Day in Week 2 of our program and I'm at the point where you definitely feel worn out. Thus I have to make sure to up my sleep, take my vitamins, and drink lots of water. It's like clockwork, everytime I do a program there is always the moment when you feel like you're getting sick and it's my job to know the limits of which I can go. I'm pretty sure that if I do the right things, I should be able to push through this and come out on the other side the better for it. And speaking of the's horrible today in NYC. The weather is cold and rainy. I'm just not ready for Fall yet...what happened to Summer this year? Did we even have one? Guess that's why I'm dreaming about that Tropical Get-away...I can't wait, and I'm going to work sooo hard to get there.

Tonight is Masala Bhangra with my girls Bex & KV. I've been looking forward to this class for sometime now, and I can't wait to have my butt kicked Indian Style :) AND I totally forgot that I had RSVP'd for a book signing party tonight that starts at 6:30...SO, I'll have to hit class at 5:30 and at 6:30 do a quick clean up at the gym and basically jet to the party...hoping to be there by 7 (if my hair cooperates)...I think it's possible, seeing as how the gym and the party are both downtown. I don't know what to expect at this Book Signing, but I know it is supposed to be a wine, cheese kind of thing, and wine is off my diet at the moment (well drinking in general) so, I hope there are other things to sip while there. Water anyone?
I'm off to have some herbal tea and try to get things done before heading off to the gym. I'm currently enjoying these new challenges I'm facing, and it's nice to see what I can actually accomplish. Yay...go What's your challenge? Are you facing them head on? Are you doing something good for YOU? Let's hit that motivation and keep it in stride.
Have a nice day,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 2 Blues

Yesterday's cardio was a success. I made it through the Guerilla Cardio, even though I forgot my knee braces (not the best of ideas). I won't lie, I'm soooo tired. Week 2 is definitely kicking my butt, but I'll make it through. They say weeks 2-5 are the worst...why? Due to the sore muscles physically & the lack of seeing results mentally really. You always get a great 1st week that pushes you forward, but week 2 your body is trying to adapt, and you generally don't see actual results until weeks 6-8. It's week 8 that I personally see results. The weight just seems to melt off over night, and everyone seems to notice all of a sudden. I have to remember that and keep pushing myself forward... perseverance baby! I can't say enough how great it is to have my bgf (best girl friend) Rebecca on this journey with me...she really holds me accountable and helps me really go beyond where I'd go on my own. Thanks're the best! .

Today I'm going to knock out my Lower Body Weight Training at lunch and then I have a voice lesson after work...then I'm "free" to do what ever it is I need and/or perhaps want to do. My friend Kristin V. is in town for the next 10 days and will be staying with me for a bit. I look forward to dragging her to the gym and beyond for some really great work-outs, she says she's pumped and ready for anything I throw at her! Muahahahahaha....I hope she knows what she's saying. Nah, I know she's up for it, she's always a delight to have around and game for just about anything.

This coming Thursday, Bex & I have plans to do Masala Bhangra, a Bollywood style Indian Dance class. She says it really gets the heart going and works the lower body...boy, after today's weight training, I bet I'm gonna be feeling it. If Kristin isn't already booked, maybe she'll join us for this fun new class (new to me & KV...but Bex has already been doing this for the past few months I believe).

I want to give a shout out to my girls, MizFit and Dietgirl on their new site and podcasts at Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone...I've always enjoyed reading their own personal blogs and I look forward to listening to their antics as well. Congrats ladies...I know this will be a fun and informative venture.

Ok...I'm off to my next meal...a frittata I made and is absolutely delish. It contains Spinach, roasted artichoke hearts and goatcheese. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it, I just change up the ingredients to suit my tastes: Frittata (Breakfast Caserole)


Have a great day,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Working for it!

All's well in NYC. I've been eating ultra healthy and started a hardcore work-out regiment last Monday (week before Columbus Day). Thus I've had a week's worth of butt kicking moments at the gym. Thankfully, my actress friend Rebecca is doing it with me, which keeps me strong and accountable. Our training program consists of 6 days a week with ever changing work-outs. Here's an example of week 1 and what we've accomplished:

Monday: Lower Body Weight Training

Tuesday: Guerilla Cardio (HIIT)

Wednesday: Upper Body Weight Training

Thursday: Guerilla Cardio (HIIT) or Masala Bangra (Indian Dancing - Bollywood)

Friday: Lower Body Weight Training

Saturday: Cardio, or in our case Vinyasa Yoga

Sunday: Rest

Now we're on week 2 of our plan and we completed our Upper Body Weight Training Yesterday. Today will be more Guerilla Cardio, followed by Lower Body Weight Training on Wednesday, and so on and so on... I think you get the idea.

As for the eating, we're eating 5-6 times a day, small meals that consist of low carb, high protein....basically lean meats and veggies, or a nice greek yogurt with chopped raw almonds.

In one week, she's already dropped 7 lbs. and I've lost 5, but I'm thinking the actual scale loss will lessen as we build bone and muscle density...thus I'm gonna have to go off my goal jeans which I try on weekly. So far the goal jeans are still a bit tight, but they did slide over my thighs and hips, but it'll be a few more weeks before they actually snap together comfortably.

We each have goals as to why we're training so hard, mine is for my debut on International Television when I go and sing in Hungary in mid-November and then I play Musetta in mid-December, thus I need to be in top form for those events. Her goal is for her MFA audition at UT Austin in December, thus she too wants to be in top form (1st impressions are everything... especially in our industry). Then I created an even further challenge to keep us going after the holidays. I told her, when tax returns come around, and if we stick with the hard core training and eating right, that I'd treat us to a little tropical get away. What better motivation than knowing your going to be in a bikini on a beach somewhere? I know that'll keep my butt in the gym!

Another challenge is the fact that my friend Jake (the trainer) says that he'd be surprised if we even make it through week 2, thus, I'm out to prove him wrong...nothing fuels my fire like proving a point! I'm strong and I'll show him and myself that I can do this!..because hey, I can :)

What's your motivation? Why don't you join me, no time like the present right?

Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

La Sonnambula

You'd think I'd learn to put myself to bed earlier, but that doesn't seem to be the now, I'm totally dragging @$$ today. Um...Hello...get some sleep already. It started off innocently enough, I was just going to spend a few minutes last night working on the Internet link to see if I couldn't set-up the wireless connection in my apartment...but as we all know, those sorts of things turn into more than they start out to be, thus an hour later, I gave up and did finally go to bed (at midnight). I'm close with the Internet thing though...I've got it connected in the bedroom, but now I have to get the other computer to pick up the signal (this is after I get the wireless keyboard working again...ugh). I'm so technically challenged, it's sad!

In the opera world, we've finished with "Emmeline" for awhile, until we go to Hungary to perform it in November. Until then, I've got a hair & make-up gig for "Rigoletto", and must continue learning Musetta for December's performances of "La Boheme". Oh yeah, audition season is also upon us, thus I have to perfect my audition package as well...tis a busy time.

Yesterday's eating was healthy but heavy, but I'm still down 1/2 a pound, and I have a feeling eating organic has something to do with that. I keep hearing that eating whole, natural foods will process in the body better, making for good nutrients without all the inflammation and other problems that go along with hormonally, chemically altered and processed foods.

Here's today's stats/log:

Weight: 155.5 lbs.

8am - Organic scrambled eggs (199 calories) & turkey bacon (105
Organic decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

12pm - 15 Almonds (105 calories) & coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

2pm - Organic Chicken Vegetable Soup (170 calories)

4:30pm - Decaf Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Late (160 calories)

6:30pm - Ham & Cheddar Omelet (427 calories)

8:30pm - Organic decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

Total Calories for the day: 1496

Additions and edits will be made to the log throughout the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 2, Again...

Ok, so far so good...granted it has only been 1 day. I find I'm always good for a couple of days and then get derailed. Currently, I just have to make it through 2 weeks to start and then add on as I go if I decide...and I can do anything for 2 weeks. It does make it easier now that the Maestro is on board and doing this with me. He was so good yesterday and I think he was proud of himself for sticking with the healthy eating all day. Today we have lunch plans, so it'll be a nice little date and we can help each other stay on track :)

I wish I could shake the overtired feeling...I went to bed at a reasonable hour, compared to the past 2 weeks. However, I don't think one night's gonna do it and I hear there's no such thing as catching up on sleep. I am going to have to make it a priority to get my 7-8 hours of sleep, or I may find myself giving into emotional eating.

Here are today's stats/log:

Weight 156 lbs. (yep 3 lbs in a day...can you say menstrual)

8:30am - Organic scrambled eggs (199 calories) & turkey
bacon (105 calories)
Organic decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

12:30pm - 15 Almonds (105 calories)

2:3opm - Grassfed ground beef steak (540 calories) w/mixed greens & balsamic vinagrette (86 calories)

4pm - decaf, grande, skinny, cinnamon dolce latte (130 calories)

7:30pm - free range chicken breast (240 calories) w/"creamed" spinach (280 calories)

8:30pm - Organic decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

Total calories for the day: 1905

Have a great day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Try Try Again

Mother nature has been particularly cruel this month. If you're squeamish and or male, you may want to stop reading at this point., I had THE worst cramps yesterday, that I about died...or at least I felt like I was. On top of that, my eating has been out-of-control since last Thursday what with opening night at the Opera and all the champagne and partying ways we singers exist on during productions. Now I know why successful singers pack on the pounds...people just feed you and ply you with wine...eek! So as it stands, my stats are pretty lousy at the moment, thus I get to start all over again, but with a much higher body weight :(

The good news is that my honey, The Maestro, is going to be my partner in the battle of the bulge...we're both going to get all ship-shape together. Thus our plan is basically an organic/south-beachy approach to our diet...yummy organic lean proteins, veggies (lots o' green), dairy, legumes and nuts for the 1st 2 weeks, and then we'll add in organic citrus and whole grains like quinoa slowly back. On top of that we start our work-out regiment: a mixture of cardio, guerilla cardio, 30 day shreds, and some other weight training programs. Mixing it ups seems to keep the bod guessing and going in the right direction. I have a feeling, after the first 2 weeks we should be hating life, but feeling a heck of a lot better about ourselves. I guess Jillian Michaels is right...if it were easy, everyone would be in shape.

Ok, so here are today's stats...starting with my pathetic weight (159.5 lbs)

8am - 0% Greek Yogurt w/1 pkg of stevia (90 calories)

10am - Organic decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

12pm - 1 cup of Blackbeans w/tomatoes & green chilies (280 calories)

3pm - 15 Almonds (105 calories)

4:30pm - Decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

6:30pm - Beef & Broccoli - no sugar or MSG (300 calories)

Total calories for the day: 995

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yesterday & Today

Combining two logs in one today as it's gonna get a bit messy with the weekend's celebrations...not to mention that I'm totally PMSing...ugh!

Yesterday's weight stayed at 152 lbs. and my eating was sporatic and heavy:

12 pm - 3 Organic breakfast tacos w/eggs (200 calories), bacon (105 calories), raw cheddar (110 calories), & salsa (35 calories) on small corn tortillas (210 calories)

2 very small cubs of orange spiced dark chocolate (it was Green & Blacks Maya Gold 37 calories)

4 pm - 2 waffle cookies / pizzelle (162 calories) & a cup of organic skim milk (110 calories)

6 pm - an orange (62 calories)

8 pm - 5 Organic softtacos w/ground beef, cheddar (220 calories), salsa (70 calories), 0% greek yogurt (great sour cream subsitute and only at 30 calories) and lettuce & tomatoe on small corn tortillas (350 calories).

Cocunut milk, mint-chocolate chip "ice cream" that is sweetened with agave.

9 pm - Handfull Snap Pea crisps & a Handful of Glutten-free granola

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whoo Hoo - 4 day weekend ;)

Originally it was supposed to be a 3 day weekend (atleast from my day job), but physically I'm pooped. I just couldn't keep the 6 hours or less of sleep going...Thus
I took today off! I slept 12 hours last night, and it was deep too, I don't think an earthquake could have shaken me awake. Guess I just needed the rest. Now I'm up and functioning, unfortunately it's thrown my eating schedule off, so we'll just consider this a "cheat day" of sorts.

Rehearsals are going well. We have our first dress rehearsal today and they're incorporating all the lights and other technical aspects into the show for tonight's rehearsal. We have our preview this coming Tuesday for "Emmeline" and we open on's comingtogether and I can't wait to see all the elements working together to make this fantastic show even more spectacular. Let's just say, I'm very excited!

Here's today's log / stats:

Weight: 152 lbs. (holding steady since yesterday, but I did have just over 1500 calories, so I need to keep that down a bit more and really get in some good work-outs.)

2 pm - 3 eggs over medium (276 calories), 3 slices turkey bacon (105 calories), kidney beans (104 calories) and decaf coffee w/half & half (110 calories).

Have a great day...and remember that I will continue to ad to the stats log throughout the day.

6 pm - an Orange (62 calories)

8 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories)Organic Red Beans (110 calories)

Total of 894 calories (I know I'm missing something here...I will add it when I remember what it is that I ate.)

Total of 7000 steps


Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Weighty Issue

I'm now down 4 lbs. since Monday...and yes I'm exhausted as well. Even when I put myself to bed at 11pm, I can't seem to calm my brain down enough to fall asleep...thus when I get up at 6am, I haven't quite had enough sleep. Granted this time I'm sure it was due to having coffee at 8pm last night...not smart, but it did help get me through rehearsal as I was the walking dead beforehand.

There has been an uproar lately (well, it's always a delicate subject) in the Opera Business about weight. Why singers with great voices, but also have a bit more girth aren't being hired. Sadly, I think if you've ever had weight issues and are in an entertainment position, then perhaps you've been privy to this predicament. Personally, I've been on both the winning and losing side based on my looks in general. One audition where I was still at the 185 lbs range, I lost the romantic lead role to an untrained, very vocally challenged singer, and this was for a musical show...another audition I lost because I looked too old, and then another where I looked too point is, that it doesn't really matter what you look like, they're going to cast who they feel fit the role at that point in time...period. That doesn't mean that I'm never going to sing that role or with that company, but that I just don't fit into their idea for that moment.

Why am I so concerned with my weight? Well, as much as it does help me to be thinner in the business that I'm in, its really for my own reasons. I want to be healthy...I really do. I hate hospitals and I'm terrified of needles, thus if I keep myself healthy, I can avoid them for a very long time (God willing). Besides I feel good when I'm eating well, and staying it's more fun to fit in my clothes than to struggle with that damn zipper that just doesn't want to cooperate sometimes ;) I made the choice to fight my "genetics" and you know what, I'm winning. Sure it takes time, perseverance, and some sacrifice...but in the end, it's so worth it and I'm better for it in the end (which hopefully is a long way off, say 80+ years from now?)

I know that sometimes when we're at a certain weight that the end goal seems impossible and we want to give up...but if we remember to set little goals and keep achieving those goals, the ultimate goal will be standing right in front of you within reach before you know it. And it feels so good to know that you can reach out and grab those brass rings to obtain what you want, no matter what it is. Heck I'm already almost halfway to my first goal that I set this week...I just have to keep on keepin' on...and don't think for a moment that I won't.

Today's log / stats:

Weight: 152 lbs.

8:30 am - 1 medium orange (62 calories) & 15 raw almonds (105

10:30 am - Cup of Oatmeal (147 calories) with 2 tbl. sp. each of Raisins (49 calories), Walnuts (60 calories) & Maple Syrup (100 calories).

*Important Note: It is now 11:30 am, and I have the shakes something terrible...I don't think my body likes the Maple Syrup, will try agave next time instead.

Organic decaf skim milk latte w/2 tsp. agave nectar (milk 110 calories + agave 28 calories)

2:30 pm - Organic Huevos Rancheros (365 calories) w/Guacamole (50 calories) and Homefries (266 calories)

Iced Peach Rooibus Tea

Whew...I'm already at 1,342 calories today...I've gotta lighten up for the rest of the day...say hello veggies.

5:30 pm - Coffee w/skim milk (110 calories)

7:30 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories) & Organic Red Beans (110 calories)

Total of 7000 steps today
Total of 1,589 calories

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

3rd Day Back on the Blog

So far so I am still seeing good progress thus far - down 3.5 lbs. in 2 days. I don't want to jinx it though or scare it off, so read this blog in your whisper voice. I have to say when I do things right I tend to do them well and see progress, I just have to be consistent. Sadly, consistency is the problem...I allow too many obstacles to keep tripping me up on my journey to healthdom. I could ask the "why, oh why?" question, but why? That would just being self-defeating in the overall picture. I know just happens, and I just need to make strong, smart choices as they come...that's all...right?...HA! Oh well, I always go with the motto, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Thus I will keeping going, and keep trying until I do it! And if you think about it, if you're trying, then you're already doing...think about that.

On the opera front: Rehearsals for "Emmeline" at Dicapo Opera are going very well, this is going to be an amazing show. I really adore what the stage director has and is doing with this's truly inventive and beautiful, not to mention very physical. He's got the lead soprano (who sings sooo beautifully) rolling around on the floor, with her head hanging over boxes and sitting stark still in a chair whilst she sings throughout the show...not to mention that the ensemble is practically choreographed in everything they's been a meticulous rehearsal process, but very fruitful...Again, this is really going to be quite an amazing and visual show...not to mention the great singing talent within.

On the fitness & nutrition side: I'm feeling a bit tired due to only 5-6 hours of sleep a night, but that will be remedied as soon as we're done with the production on Sept. 13th. Other than that I do feel pretty good and energized considering. I'm sure it has to do with the healthy eating and how often I'm doing it. Eating Organic has been really positive thus far.

Here's today's log and stats:

Weight: 153 lbs.

8:00 am - 2 medium organic hard boiled eggs (152 calories), water, organic decaf skim milk latte w/2 tsp. agave nectar (milk 110 calories + agave 28 calories)

Supplements: Multi-Vitamin (Trader Darwin's Women's), 1200 mg Calcium w/200 IU vitamin D (10 calories), 595 mg potassium gluconate, milkthistle.

11:00 am - 1 medium orange (62 calories) & 15 raw almonds (105 calories)

1:30 pm - Chicken w/veggies in a spicy basil sauce over brown rice (350 calories) & steamed veggie dumplings (150 calories)

2:30 pm - Workout: 1 hour of moderate walking

4:30 pm - Coconut water (65 calories)

6:30 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories) & Organic Red Beans (110 calories)

8:00 pm - Coffee w/skim milk (110 calories)

Total of 1351 calories

Total of 7,000 steps today

Have a great day folks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And the Progress Continues

Alright, the first day "back at the blog" went well I think. I maintained my online "journal" and accomplished everything I set forth yesterday. Now to keep the momentum going. All we can do is take it moment by moment, day by day...a lesson I've learned the hard way. If you're an absolutist (like me) about things, you may find that if you don't bend, then you may break. Unfortunately, I've been known to be a little hardcore/strict on my diet and then have one slip up and be like "F#@K it , I already messed up the day, I might as well enjoy the rest of the day, week, month, year" get the idea. So the plan is to make good decisions when they come and not beat myself up if I have a few mis-haps or unplanned things come into my life...besides you can always burn a few more calories if you eat a few more than you planned.

On the opera front: I had a quasi-terrible coaching yesterday. Last week the allergies hit me hard and gave me a little laryngitis, thus Monday being my first vocal day back, I didn't feel I did my best singing...on the positive though, I did get through all of "Emmeline" memorized (which is saying a lot, due to the score's difficulty).

On the weight progression: I am on the right track and already 2 lbs. down from yesterday. I look forward to when the scale will say 10 lbs. down and my clothes say 2 inches in :) I think I'll see great progress in the next two weeks. I just have to continue to eat clean, watch my calories, and work-out almost everyday.

Here's today's fitness/nutrition log:

7:30 am - 2 medium organic hard boiled eggs (152 calories), water, herbal tea (lemon rose)

Supplements: Multi-Vitamin (Trader Darwin's Women's), 1200 mg Calcium w/200 IU vitamin D (10 calories), 595 mg potassium gluconate, milkthistle.

10:30 am - Organic Decaf Coffee w/organic half & half (100 calories) and half of a 0% organic plain yogurt (50 calories) w/stevia extract

1:00 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories) & Organic Red Beans (110 calories)

Baked Organic Cherries (54 calories)


2:30 pm - Workout: 1 hour of moderate walking

3:30 pm - Organic Chicken Vegetable Soup...mmm (170 calories)

Baked Organic Cherries (54 calories)

5:30 pm - Decaf Coffee w/half & half (110 calories)

7:30 pm - Orange (62 calories) & cup of organic skim milk (110 calories)

End of Day Stats:

Total of 1109 calories

Total of 11,000 steps today

Have a great day!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back on the Blog

I know, I know...I've been terribly neglectful to this poor old blog, but things are about to change. I'm going to utilize the "Not a Fat Opera Singer" blog for exactly what it indicates...the not fat part and the opera singing. Let me catch you up with the goings-on's in my life.

Opera: I received a last minute contract from Dicapo Opera to cover Harriet Mosher and perform in the women's ensemble in their new production of Tobias Picker's "Emmeline". We will perform in NYC from Sept. 10-13 and then take the show to Szeged, Hungary to perform in the Mezzo Television Opera Festival & Competition Nov. 15 & 16. In December, I will sing my first Musetta in La Boheme with Opera Manhattan and I'm up for several other contracts with other companies for the rest of the year, but am waiting to hear back on those.

Weight Loss: I've lost 10 of the almost 30 lbs. I gained last winter, and now I will lose the remaining 20. Now that my toes have healed (oh yeah, I had some toe mis-haps, fractures, toenail issues...long story) I will start my cardio and sculpting regiment and will continue to keep my diet lean, clean and pumping (I've gone organic and gave up sodas and chemicals). The plan is to do a daily log on here to keep myself honest and accountable. I have to admit that when I keep a journal, I keep the weight really seems to help. So, here goes...sorry if it's TMI and a bit boring, but at least you know I'm being proactive about it ;)

Starting weight 156.5 lbs. (ugh!)

8:00 am - 0% Greek yogurt w/packet of Stevia (90 calories)

Herbal Tea (Lemon Rose) & Water

Supplements - Calcium w/D (1200 mg-calcium, 200 IU-vitamin D, 10 calories), Potassium Gluconate (595 mg ), Trader Darwin's Women's Multivitamin

11:20 am - 15 Sundried Almonds (105 calories), 3 organic prunes (60 calories), & some organic baked cherries (54 calories)


1:40 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories) & Organic Red Beans (110 calories)


2:30 pm - Workout: Guerilla Cardio, 30 minutes on treadmill (5 minutes warm-up, 20 minutes HIIT in 1 minute intervals, 5 minutes cool down) Highest Heart Rate 181, fastest running pace 7.0, lowest walk pace 3.5

4:30 pm - Organic Quinoa (127 calories) & Organic Red Beans (110 calories)


5:45 pm - Grande Decaf coffee w/skim milk and some 1/2 & 1/2 (220 calories)

6:45 pm -1 orange (62 calories) & 2 oz. raw organic cheddar cheese (220 calories)

7:45 pm - 2 cups organic skim milk(180 calories)

End of Day Stats:

Total of 1413 calories

Total of 13,000 Steps Today

Have a great day folks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Finding Balance

Wow Wow Wow...Have I been going through some crazy times...Actually, that's normal. However, the stress levels in my body are really high right now and I've been having weird little shock-like responses. I know it has to do with hormones and stress, but GOD, it's really an odd feeling that gives me almost the heebiegeebies. It's like I walk around with my shoulders up around my ears and the hair on the back of my head, neck, back and arms is always standing on end...again, it's a really odd feeling. I've been practicing my uji breathing when I feel stressed, which is most of the time, and it has been helping!...However, I realize it can't be healthy walking around like this. Granted, I've been dealing with alot, but I've got to get my body under control. Currently I'm reading Jillian Michaels' new book "Master Your Metabolism", I just bought it yesterday and am only in the 1st chapter, but she immediately lets you know that a lot of our problems with our health has to do with hormones. Hormones ARE your Metabolism. Hormones are triggered by everything from what you eat, to stress, to how much sleep you get to...well you get the point, literally everything! Even though I'm producing 4 operas, running an opera company, working a day job, performing, auditioning, trying to manage my weight, about to have a birthday, and trying to survive day to day, I've also been dealing with other outside factors that involve people I love and trying to help them with their struggles. I think I'm pretty much at my breaking point people. I WISH I could afford a vacation, but it's also the time that I've already prioritized to those above mentioned things that make it seem almost impossible to get away. I generally use my vacation days from my day job toward going on tour and pursuing my actual Opera Career. I haven't had a vacation in almost 5 years and I haven't gone home to Texas for longer than that *cry*. Look, I'm not complaining really, I made the choice to sacrifice what I have to in order to have my career, and generally that's time (and sometimes stability, both mentally and monetarily).

So, what to do? Well, I'm going to do what I know works for me:
  • I've got to get control of my eating. Balanced blood sugar levels always keep the irritability factor in check, thus I've got to eat right and often.

  • I've got to continue my work-outs. Working-out really does help lower the stress factor in my life AND it gives me more energy, when I pair it with the next to do on the list.

  • Get ample sleep! I have to have to have to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Sadly I average 5-6 hours and that's just not enough for my bod...ESPECIALLY when I'm working-out 5-6 days a week.

  • Give myself breaks. I must step away from the computer, rehearsal, and any other necessary evil long enough to breathe, relax and refocus or I'm no good to anyone. I also have to include that I've got to "give myself a break" when it comes to self-judgements. Big deal if I don't do everything perfect all the time...that's the beautiful and "perfect" thing about being human. From weakness we find strength, you can't have one without the other.
I think that's a good list to start (continue) with. I'll finish the book I'm reading soon and see if there isn't anything else that will help me find balance in my life. Perhaps tweak a few things that I'm doing.

Oh, I should share that I had my biometric screening yesterday, and although my finger is still sore from the finger prick *owwwuh* my results were surprising to me. I'm considered in the very good to excellent range of health! big YAY all around. My cholesterol was very good in both the HDL & LDL categories, my blood sugar was great, and my blood pressure was better than I must be doing something right. I have to say that even though my eating hasn't been the stellar example that I would like it to be, it's not terrible...AND I have been working out pretty consistently, even if it's just getting in my 10K steps a day. Also, I do think that my regular intake of ground flaxseed has been helping with getting some good Omega 3's in my system as well as a nice source of non-soluble fiber (keeps a girl regular...TMI?)

Anywho, its time to get back to aforementioned day job. I hope everyone is well, and feel free to chime in with any suggestions, questions or comments.

Have a great day,


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life Ramblings

It seems everyone that I know is going through one or more transitions in their lives. Either they're tweaking their health & fitness, renovating their homes, and/or trying to get out of some emotional funk. I wonder if the state of the economy in the world has made people wake up and realize that it's time to start living and doing with what one has instead of filling our empty lives with "stuff" that we buy. I have been know to fill the void in my life from time to time by stuffing either my mouth or home with things I don't need, and I find that I still feel empty even after the stuffing has ensued. How satisfying this past month has been out of the simple use of elbow grease and revamping my home. How free I feel not to have all the clutter suffocating me and the looming feeling that I should be at home cleaning and organizing my apartment all the time. When it's done and done well...then you are left with not only a feeling of completion and pride, but you are actually left with time. Time to do other things without that guilt in the back of your mind. Time to work on your health without the would've, should've, could've-s. At least that's how my brain works. I just don't feel I can do anything else with other things hanging over me. Granted, I do accomplish many things even with a messy house, but when the mess is gone, I just find it easier to avoid the excuses not to do something.

Now here's an observation: I always feel awesome after I fact, I actually enjoy some of my work-outs in the interim...then, why is it so dang hard to get my @$$ to the gym (or exercise at home). Why do I find excuses not to go, when I know it's good for me and I always feel good afterwards? I enjoy the good sore you get from a kickin' why do I fight it. Why do we fight it in general? Even the most skilled fitness guru admits to forcing themselves every now and then to get in their work-out. Why oh why can't we just enjoy it and stick with it and never argue with ourselves about it? Well then I guess it would be called playing or partying instead of working-out....huh? So here's my recommendation: Remind yourself why you go to the gym...remember that feeling you have once you've achieved your daily fitness goal (don't have one? Start making them and meet them head on)...really be aware of how your body feels after your work-out, not only at that moment, but for the next few days (can you enjoy that good sore feeling or the burst of energy you've gotten from it?)...I also like finding photos in a magazine or of myself at a favorite weight to help keep me motivated (For example, I found a pic of myself on Facebook the other day and really liked the way my arms looked in I asked myself, what was I doing to attain that good shape?...time to revisit that good habit!) So many things we can do to motivate ourselves. Heck I've gone as far as to tell my coworker to remind me to go to the gym on my lunch break...she giggles and has a fun time with it, and it's done in such a sweet way...our own little game and inside joke.

What's your motivation? What are you doing for you? It all starts with a deep breath and then you just gird your loins and get to it! The time to live is now, so start living and be happy in the knowledge that you are succeeding in just that...LIFE :)

Have a great day,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sharing is Caring

Just wanted to share a new addition to the blogroll...Seth Weinstein at He's a friend of mine whom I live vicariously through when it comes to travel. I have to say that his Travel Logs are some of my favorite things to read, and make me feel that I was there right along side him on his travels.

This weekend is the Maestro's BBQ Bday Party...we'll be grillin' and soakin' in the sun with 50 of our closest'll be lovely, AND I get to show off our "new" apartment.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Skinny Jeans

Woohoo, I broke through another barrier, I'm almost at the 20 lbs. lost mark...AND I got into my skinny jeans (skinny as in smaller size, not as in narrow legged...blech). How'd I do it? Perseverance my friends, per -se-ver-ance! Was I perfect this whole time?...NO...but I made good choices MOST of the time and got my @$$ to the gym on a regular basis. I think having the Women's Health Challenge keeping me accountable for my work-outs has helped. I also LOVE the pedometer feature on my little cell really makes me go for those 10 thousand steps a day, such a fun daily challenge.

In NaFOS Transformation Challenge news: Several people on the NaFOS Plan are doing really great! One of our participants has lost 30 lbs. in the past 2 months, and has a new love for yoga...WOW! And another participant has also lost close to 20 lbs. and she too has gotten into the Yoga trend. I have to say our yoga instructor Kristen has been amazing with our singers...YAY Kristen!!! I also have to give kudos to my girls who are going slow and steady with their progress, and have found a new love for the gym and working-out...this will truly help them to keep it off in the long run. As we all know, slow and steady wins the race!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Moving and Shaking

Ahhhh, the Memorial Day Weekend....a very productive weekend indeed. I personally love to use long weekends as an excuse to either get away, OR for getting things done around the house. I chose the latter this weekend and we accomplished much. With the help of the Maestro, my Cousin Philip, and my girl Chelle, we renovated our apartment. The renovations included taking everything out of storage, and the off-set rooms and doing a large purge of the situation. Once things were purged, we painted the areas that desperately needed it and then moved and reorganized all the rooms by rearranging furniture, books, appliances, etc. Once that was done (which took most of the 3 days) we did the little things like replacing light fixtures and bulbs, new batteries in smoke alarms and remotes, grooming the plants, and we even added a new toilet seat to the mix (so nice, new, and stain resistant!)

It feels so good to have everything done (ok, not everything...I want to go through all my kitchen utensils and dishes and purge as well), but it does feel like we live in a new place. How very calming it is to have everything in its place and how peaceful it is to have our space open and usable...I'm a happy person. I'm also a sore person...this was such a physical undertaking that I definitely know I got a good work-out from all the hard work...Mopping alone was quite the task, so you can only imagine how I feel after all the cleaning, purging, painting, etc....whew, I'm beat.

Overall a good and productive weekend...Next weekend...PARTY!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Breaking Through

It seems that I've finally broken through my latest plateau! My girl KS is this week's Guerilla Cardio buddy, and I'm incorporating my first solo weight training session back into my routine. It's been awhile since I've hit the weights solo, without a dvd, or trainer guiding me through a workout and I feel a little lost as to where to begin. So I shall revisit my old work-out logs, and surf the Internet before I hit the gym. I want to go with a plan so that there's no procrastination and no excuses (hey, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail). Feel free to hit me up with your comments if you have a great weight training program that I can do in 30-45 minute sets. I'm thinking different muscle groups on different days? Like lower body & Abs? Chest, Back & Biceps? Please do share.

I remember the intimidation my very first time at the gym...feeling soooo lost when it came to weight machines and free weights. I was completely clueless. Luckily I had lovely friends that did have experience and that were happy to start guiding me along on my quest. Then I did the Body-for-Life thing, and that just increased my knowledge with exercise. And now I find myself back to where I began...ok, not really. I know how to weight train, I know proper form and I know what my limit is...I just have to start slow and work my way back to a regular practice.

On the singing front, I sang my audition for Dicapo Opera yesterday afternoon, and I felt it went really well. I have satisfaction that I sang a successful audition and I'm satisfied with that...getting roles for next season would just be icing on the cake. The General Manager even commented on my vocal growth since last year...awesome! So things are going swimmingly in that department.

As for NaFOS The Transformation, its now time to get the participants on the road of serious fitness, now that their eating seems to be on a good path. We're finishing up our proposal for gym sponsorship and I need to do everything in my power to make sure our participants are working out at least 3 times a week. I really want to help them in their now I need to make some calls and set up this week's fitness classes.

Have a great day!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting it Together

Allergies are soooo kicking my butt. I've got major drainage and a sore throat from it. My throat was so irritated last night, that I kept waking up every hour throughout the night...ugh...I really hate that. I'm not too tired today, but I do have a long day ahead of me and may make some homemade ginger tea to help soothe the throat and open up the sinuses....I'll have to settle for sugar-free Ricola until then.

I received two new Jillian Michael's DVDs (Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and No More Trouble Zones) in the mail yesterday and I'm pumped about trying them out. We'll see how these new DVD's stack up to my favorite The 30 Day Shred...they received higher ratings on than my lovely Shred, and they're 30 minutes longer in the who knows, I may end up a pile of mush afterwards (which I love). I won't be able to try them until next week, but I'll let you know how it goes.
I also received two new cookbooks in the mail Hungry Girl: Recipes & Survival Strategies for Guilt Free Eating (whew) and Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200. I'm interested about adding these into my ever-growing archive of recipes and regularly usable foods. I already use and love her spinach artichoke dip recipe (which I used to make stuffed mushrooms) and adore the Kale Chips...I can't wait what else she has instore for me in her bag of tricks. Yay Hungry Girl!...and she also has a great site to check out.

Also, after this weekend is over, I should be able to cook more regular meals instead of relying on string cheese, nuts, yogurt, eggs and salad...I've gotta get more foods into my diet, and thankfully I've got more time to do that very soon. Plus the Maestro needs prepared food so he can eat well during his 12 hour work days.

Last night I began the reorganization plan for my apartment. I totally emptied my bedroom of clothing and started making "donate" and "keep" piles. Once that's organized then I will do the same to books, shoes, jewelry and other miscellaneous things such as paperwork (big undertaking.) I am such a pack rat and have got to learn to let go. I'm also on the hunt for a cheap wardrobe/closet to utilize in my bedroom, and a tall cabinet with a door for the hall to keep linens and towels in. This should open up closet space even more and make for a more functional home. I'm tired of putting linens and towels in suitcases and boxes under the bed...I need to get to them easily for usage...and so does everyone else in the apartment. I plan to have the sorting of all things done by this weekend, and then the rest of the reorganization completed by the end of May. I think that's a reasonable goal.

Other than that, I submitted my first NaFOS article to MizFit Magazine...I hope Miz has a successful launch, she deserves it.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Crazy Life of an Opera Singer

Yep, the crazy life of an Opera Singer / Artistic Director / Producer / Program Director / Hair & Make-up Mistress / Health & Fitness Advocate / Administrative Assistant / Student / Girlfriend / Friend / all around well-rounded Human being? I have found that I currently wear many hats and juggle many things. No wonder I'm exhausted most of the time, and find other things in my life suffering due to my other priorities. For example my home is a complete wreck, I can hardly remember to water the plants much less keep an open and immaculate apartment. You've surely heard " cluttered home, cluttered mind" but which came first the chicken or the egg? On top of the clutter, is the lack of space that NYC apartments have. YOU come to NYC and try downsizing from Texas-sized living to teeny tiny New York apartment...ugh...and I've been here for 8 years already! I keep getting rid of stuff but somehow it's never enough and there's never enough space. I need help clearing the clutter...I need to reorganize...I need my home to be an oasis that I can escape to, not from! But you know me; I have a plan. Yep...a reorganization plan. Once my last gig at Dicapo is up after this weekend, I'm going to redo the apartment. I'm going to Spring clean like there's no tomorrow. I'm going to rearrange furniture, purchase extra storage (i.e. a closet/wardrobe), and purge all unnecessary articles of clothing (and, books, furniture, etc. That should do it! My main objective in this is to have some good open space at home so that every time I want to work-out I don't have to move the sofa (Yeah, we actually, physically move the couch in order to work-out...hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.) I think the rest of my life will be a little less stressed if my home life is in better order.

As for NaFOS: The Challenge, my singers are doing very well and we have a great bunch of participants that are ready to be physically challenged now that they're getting their eating under control. I can't wait for you to check out our article in the new MizFit Magazine that launches soon.

On the opera singer front: I've been studying with a new voice teacher, famed soprano Diana Soviero. She's the real thing folks...I've been making such wonderful progress in a few short months and I can't wait to see where I am in a year. Not only is she an amazing teacher, but she's also an amazing human did I get so lucky? I honestly have my friend Kristin to thank for that, she's the one that originally introduced me to her (and honestly, the way my friend Kristin sings is the reason I wanted to study with Ms. Soviero...Kristin's voice is amazing, one of the most beautiful instruments of our time if you ask me, and given enough time, she'll be a household name within the next five years). I'm also getting ready for my upcoming Audition for Dicapo Opera's 2009-2010 season next week and I'm very excited. It promises to be an amazing season with my favorite Tobias Picker Opera "Emmeline" on the roster, and two of my other favorite opera's "Rigoletto" and "Madama Butterfly" to play next year as well. I would be thrilled if I got a role in those operas (oh how I long to play Sophie & Gilda), but they're doing some new and unknown pieces as well this coming season that would be cool to participate in. I just hope I can show my new vocal growth in my auditions (surprise, Bex is not just a little coloratura anymore). Dicapo's the only C house in NYC and City Opera has been having some questionable problems opening back up, so needless to say, competition is stiff for the jobs at Dicapo.

On the Not a Fat side of this blog, I have been pretty good about my fitness and nutrition, and have just joined The Women's Challenge (see the link on the right side of this blog.) Thanks to MizFit, I've got a new 8 week challenge in which to work on certain areas in my life, I even joined her Team MizFit so that she can harrang me about keeping up wid'it.

Alright, I'm totally typed out, but please feel free to visit to find out about the challenge if you are so inclined.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Get'er Done

It's been a rough couple of days... I'm overtired and I'm really starting to feel it. This past week and weekend, I got in a good couple of days where I got in some Guerilla Cardio and other work-outs. I also worked at Dicapo every night last week with two shows on Saturday and Sunday (whew)...yes this is on top of my day job. In between shows on Saturday I did get the opportunity to do some yoga with my NaFOS group in Central Park; you couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to do yoga outside, or heck just be was gorgeous! Our instructor Kristen was amazing and guided us through a nice rejuvenating was quite the work-out without realizing it until later (and I thought I was taking it easy -- HA!) By the time I got through the weekend, I needed a weekend to rest and prepare for this week, but as we all know, that just didn't happen. For some reason, the week just won't allow me two weekends in the same week...stupid calendar! Thus today I'm extra tired and fatigued and TOM has come to visit, so the last thing I want to do is work-out...but I did it! That's right, I got my butt to the gym and did a good 30 minutes of Guerilla Cardio on the treadmill, and I feel the better for it.

This coming weekend our NaFOS group is having more yoga in the park on Saturday, and then on Sunday I leave for tour with The National Lyric Opera. We'll be hitting the Northeast for two days and then coming back to NYC. I took Tuesday off, so I could get a day to myself...I just know that if I had come back and gone straight back to my day job, I would never catch up on my rest or anything else I need to do in order to prepare for the following week. I'm currently trying to come up with a game plan to sticking with my diet and exercise regiment while on the's so hard when they provide "food" on this venture and it's generally not the healthiest of choices. Hopefully there will be a gym and/or pool at the hotels, and I hope I can pack enough snacks for the road.

On a different note: Try to avoid Fat Free Half and Half...I just found out that it has corn syrup in it! can they do that to dairy. You think you're making a healthy decision, but there the food industry goes and starts mixing in crap into your food. I guess it goes to show that you should never stop reading labels.

Have a great day,

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I’ve finally begun my running program again...Why did I stop? My knees my friends, my knees…It seems that anytime I try to take up running, I suffer from anywhere to a week to a couple of months afterwards with stabbing knee pain (stairs are agony). I know, it sounds awful…well it is. So what to do? Never run again, have knee surgery, run upside down on my hands? Um, none of those are acceptable options for me. So, back when the pain began during my last running program endeavor, I had my friend Jake (yes, the ex-boyfriend / personal trainer) help me figure out WHY I was in pain, WHAT was I doing wrong, and HOW to perhaps “fix” the problem. After much trial and error he came to the conclusion that a.) The small stabilizing muscles around my knee joints were under developed, b.) That I needed to get proper footwear, and c.) I’ve got to learn to run with good form. We worked on some exercises to help strengthen the muscles for a while, but I found myself lost without his help at the gym and quickly found myself of doing other activities. I also went to the running store to get an assessment, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the shoe choices at that moment. However we did work on my running form and I feel it improved, but of course the knees couldn’t keep up so the running program went by the wayside.

Now determined to get in a good Guerilla Cardio and return to the exercise I found that I really feel challenged by and enjoy, I decided to give it another go. This time, I went to the running store and did another assessment and found that I overpronate (my feet roll in too far when I run). So we tried many different running shoes, and I chose ones that of course helped correct the overpronation (built up on the insides with a special support bar within the heel), but also a ½ size larger for toe space, narrow enough to hold my foot in place, lightweight, and has a high enough arch to give me proper support…oh yeah, and their cute too (bonus)! The next order of business was to take care of the knee stabilization issue (muscles don't build overnight...well not as much as you might need). So I purchased two knee braces with metal stability bars on either side to see if this would help keep my knees in alignment and also to keep me from hyper extending my joints when I run (yeah I have joints that hyper extend…not good for high-impact situations). Now add the corrected running form and voila I’m ready to try running again.

So last week with my new braces and running shoes, I thought I’d try it out with a work-out that I’m already familiar with, thus I “Shredded” and the outcome was a positive and interesting one. I found that I was definitely using my body and muscles differently with the new balancing and support system…This was a positive feeling and aftermath. Then on Monday I took my new additions to the gym and hit the treadmill…starting with a 3.5 walk and then slowly adjusted my speed up and down for 30 minutes testing out my new found security. No knee pain and again I felt different muscles that had been activated due to the new adjustments. Tuesday was a day off, just to be on the safe side and then another go at it on Wednesday. This time I went a little faster and longer in the running sections of my program, and again had positive results with no knee pain in the equation. So today I’m going to see if I can do two days in a row without causing injury. I’m just really listening to my body and making my adjustments accordingly…baby steps people, baby steps. I let you know how it goes!

As for NaFOS, we have our first Yoga class with GrowFromTheGround Yoga this Saturday in Central Park. It's supposed to be sunny and 72 degrees...can I order up a perfect day or what?!

Have a Great day,


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NaFOS's First Meeting

We had our first NaFOS meeting this past Sunday where we talked about the program, handed out booklets and enjoyed a cooking / preparation class. We were able to inform the participants about what is expected and answered questions that they had. Then we got to the actual cooking part of the meeting and the fun really started. There were a dozen people washing, chopping, blending, mixing and preparing fresh vegetables and lean lovely proteins. We were cooking and tasting as food became ready, starting with Kale/Swiss Chard Chips (thanks Hungry Girl). Everyone was so astounded at how good the chips were and they were really excited that they could still snack and snack healthy. They asked me how much was a serving of kale chips, and I told them that it was a guilt free snack and to feel free to munch away…you can’t get enough kale in your diet in my opinion. The next course we had was a tasting of the Asparagus, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Frittata, a favorite for breakfast and loved by everyone who had some. Next was the Sautéed Cabbage and Onion with low-fat Turkey Kielbasa (haha, people didn’t realize they liked cooked cabbage so much…surprise!), then the Italian Chicken Zucchini packets…mmm. Finally the “Lasagna” (homemade lean-beef bolognaise sauce w/low-fat cottage cheese & part skim mozzarella over roasted egg-plant layers) was ready and boy was it a hit! One of my favorites. After our tasting dinner, we retired to the living room for Almond cookies that we had rolled, pressed, and baked during the whole shebang. What a great way to finish the night and everyone had a fun and informative time. Who said eating healthy has to be boring?...I proved to them, that it’s not only healthy to eat this way, but delicious…one may even say it’s better than many restaurants one may frequent? And did you notice there’s not one processed or empty carb in the whole night? Nope, not even in the cookies which were made with Almond meal & ground flaxseeds.

Here’s what one of our participants had to say about Sunday’s meeting (oh and just an FYI, she’s only 20 years old, but wants to learn about eating right and getting fit…wow, I wish I was as aware as she is at that age):

I actually had a lot of fun yesterday! You wouldn't think a meeting about healthy food, and exercise would actually be entertaining, but it was! A lot of what you were saying about the food that we will be eating (lean protein, vegetables, no white flour) really sounds good. While I have eaten like that before, a lot of what you said has put it in a new outlook for me and I'm really excited to start next week. And I'm even more excited about the dance, yoga and boxing classes. Oh and the Kale chips were amazing! I was telling my mom we have to make them. See you soon!

I’m sorry, but that just gets me so excited about what we’re doing here and I hope we can all make great progress. Oh, and you can find a lot of the recipes that were mentioned in my previous blog entry.

Have a great day!