Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Fitness Junkies

If your favorite mom loves to workout, she will loves any of these gifts.

Balance Ball Chair Kit
Balance Ball Chair Kit
Understandably, giving a workout-related gift can be delicate.  Some women would think that means "Does you think I'm fat and need to exercise?".  Not at all.  These are gifts that say "I love the way you look...keep killin' it."

I own a number of these goodies (the stability ball chair, weighted hoop, and foam roller just to name a few). The ones I don't own, I'd love to have.

Scroll Thru for Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Fitness Junkies

Massages are also an outstanding idea.  You can never go wrong with a gift certificate to a nice spa.

Additional Mother's Day Gift Guides 

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Cowboys LB Bruce Carter on Why He Struggled in 2013

Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter had a disappointing 2013 season.  He knows it AND he knows you know it.

Barry Church, me and Bruce Carter
Carter addressed why the adjustment to a 4-3 defense was a struggle for him (and more) when I recently shot a story with him and safety Barry Church at Bowl & Barrel in Dallas.

Watch the complete interview here:

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently told the Dallas Morning News he believes Carter can "do what this defense calls for and be outstanding."

The Cowboys selected Carter with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 Draft.

For more Dallas Cowboys TwitterViews, please visit my YouTube Channel.

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5 New Green Smoothie Recipes That Will Rock Your World

My trusty Oster blender finally went kaput so I bit the bullet and ordered a NutriBullet.  (Pun intended).  I can't wait for it to arrive and have been looking for new smoothie recipes to try.

Mango, kale, berry banana smoothie
I think my smoothie game is pretty good.   I make a killer almond milk, banana, berry smoothie with kale or spinach with chia seeds.  A pineapple/strawberry/spinach/chia seed smoothie and mango/kale/berries/half a banana/chia seed smoothie are both also delicious.   

Five New Recipes to Try
You can experiment with anything.  Wednesday's New York Times offered five delicious-looking recipes that are worth trying:

Green Smoothie with Cucumber & Cumin: kefir, celery, cucumber, parsley, mint, kale or spinach, ginger, chia seeds, lightly toasted cumin, lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne.  This is the most complicated recipe and perhaps the most interesting.

Pear Smoothie with Celery & Ginger: this includes a pear, spinach, celery, banana, ginger, chia seeds, kefir, agave nectar, arugula and mint.  In the past, I felt arugula adds too much flavor but the mint and ginger would mask it.

Blueberry Kefir Smoothie with Greens: contains only blueberries, kefir, banana, chia seeds, spinach or kale, and a teaspoon of honey (which I would eliminate).

Green Smoothie with Pineapple, Arugula, Greens & Cashews: features pineapple, orange juice, raw cashews, chia seeds, ginger, baby greens and arugula.

Pineapple Basil Smoothie: pineapple, basil leaves, kefir, honey, pistachios and chia seeds.  This sounds delicous!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Lose Weight Eating Chocolate

dark chocolate, how to lose weight eating chocolate
Dark chocolate is key!

Chocolate is wholeheartedly part of a healthful diet.  

Let's pause for a moment and do the happy, chocolate dance!

Okay, moving on.

According to a recent study in the journal Nutrition, individuals who ate about an ounce and a half of chocolate per day had a lower BMI, less body fat and had a trimmer waist than those who ate less. (Tweet this)

RELATED: The Best Diets of 2016

Study author Magdalena Cuenca Garcia says that the catechins in chocolate are believed to help regulate hormones related to obesity.  Catechin levels rise proportionately with cocoa content, meaning the darker the chocolate, the better. Milk chocolate contains added sugar, it's not good for you. That's candy and it's crap. Dark is the way to go.

Note that it is a small portion of chocolate, about an ounce and a half or a single square. A decadent, complex dark chocolate square is a substantial treat when savored.

lose weight eating chocolate

The Chocolate Diet
I dropped about five pounds to prepare for a photo shoot while enjoying a square of dark chocolate every, single day. This "diet" included the Easter holiday on which I ate substantially more than a square...more like an acre. While I was in Paris, I joked that I ate the cheese, chocolate and wine diet. You know what? I lost weight. Four pounds to be exact.

Sample meal plan that helped me drop five pounds in seven days:

  • Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with small sprinkling of cheese and four or five strawberries.
  • Lunch: broth-based soup or a salad.  Sometimes I was on the run and simply had a Pure Protein bar with a tangerine. 
  • Snack: handful of raw almonds with five apricots or an apple and peanut butter.
  • Dinner: canned salmon with dijon mustard (I love this) with half an avocado and a cup f steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Dessert: one square (maybe 2) of dark chocolate. 
I worked out, generally, 30-60 minutes every day with a mix of aerobic exercise and weightlifting.

I never felt deprived or hungry.  In fact, I felt great because I wasn't overindulging or eating too much.  It was nice.

UPDATE, 2/2016: while my weight fluctuates 3-4 pounds every month, I have maintained that weight loss. Meaning, I am fitting into my skinny clothes. Yes, I still eat a dark square of chocolate (or two) almost every day.

Delicious Chocolate Treats To Try
World Market All-Natural Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
World Market Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
I recently fell in love with World Market's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar.  At 64% cocoa, it's the perfect blend of sweet and salty that satisfies a craving. I also dig any combination of orange and dark chocolate like Lindt's Excellence Intense Orange Chocolate. Have you tried dark chocolate dipped orange peels? They're ridiculously good.

Dark chocolate-covered strawberries? That's a healthy indulgence home run! The strawberries deliver some filling fiber while the chocolate satisfies your sweet tooth. They also take a while to eat which means you will eat more slowly.

What dark chocolate treats do you love? Please share your favorites in the comments section.

RELATED: Learn The Secret To Losing Weight & Building Muscle At The Same Time

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Details on Mickey & Miller's Cowboys Hour

What's the real word on the Cowboys "growing" interest in Johnny Manziel with the NFL Draft right around the corner?

Join Mickey Spagnola and yours truly Tuesday, April 29th at 1pm (CDT) for the most in-depth, comprehensive Cowboys Google+ Hangout on the internet: Mickey & Miller's Cowboys Hour.

Participate by visiting this page or simply watch from the video box embedded in this post.

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The Monday Morning Detox Edition of Motivation Monday

I hope you had an amazing weekend.  Mine was educational, fun and enlightening, courtesy of Reward Style's 2014 Conference.  What a great time mingling with a slew of smart girls (and a handful of brilliant guys) who are revolutionizing the way we consume and monetize new media.

I met women and men from around the world and learned about some fabulous new lines like UK-based River Island and that gorgeous bag (only $150! buy it here) in the photo above.  The online publishers ranged in age from 19-44 who are all dreaming, hustling and owning new media.  It's inspiring and exciting to be a part of something that's representing a fundamental shift in the way consumers digest information and shop online. 

Most people come away from conferences or rallies inspired to change.  That momentum usually wears off in a week or so.  But there are common characteristics among successful people who don't let that momentum stop: hustle, perseverance and genuine curiosity to keep improving.

That's the theme of today's Motivation Monday:  Hustle.  We can all dream.  Grand dreams are what make life fun.  But those dreams are rarely achieved without hustling your ass off to succeed.  The accomplishment and pride that come from that hustle make life worth living.

The Downside?
Mama did some drinking and eating.  I was on a good path lately but, as the nature of conferences, my diet was not what I would endorse: too many processed carbs aka white food, too much sodium and maybe one too many glasses of Ruinart Saturday night which led to a grease-filled Sunday at Village Burger Bar and Fernando's.

Monday's Detox Routine
Produce.  Lots of it.

Breakfast: tons of water and a green juice with kale, celery, cucumber and apple.

Lunch: a produce-laden salad featuring spinach, broccoli, red peppers, some beans with some blueberries and strawberries.

Dinner: my Kale, Lentil, Sweet Potato soup.  I make a big batch and freeze it in individual containers making it a perfect option to pop into the microwave on nights like this when I am pressed for time.  I am going to the Mavs/Spurs game Monday night so I will eat this right before I leave for the AAC.
Kale, Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup - even my daughter loves it! 
Broth-based soups, full of vegetables are a great way to end the day on a lower-calorie note.

Here are three more detox soup recipes that help you do just that.

Have a Great Week!
I hope you a wonderful week, eat well, exercise, hustle your ass off and are proud of yourself on Friday night.

For healthy & delicious recipes, fashionable posts and more, follow me on Pinterest.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jason Witten Believes Tony Romo Will Come Back "Better Than Ever"

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten believes Tony Romo will come back "better than ever" from his second back surgery in two years.  Witten shared his thoughts on the Cowboys quarterback, the 2014 schedule and more Thursday at Albertsons in Fort Worth.
Rowdy, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead and Jason Witten
Witten made the appearance (which I emceed) to work with six junior youth finalists from the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Worth.  The kids partnered with him, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead in a healthy recipe competition.

Chief Halstead's team won but the big winner was Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation which received a $75,000 donation courtesy of Albertsons.

On Tony Romo
Witten had high praise for Tony Romo who had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back in December and missed the final game of the regular season against the Eagles.  Romo was cleared for workouts that began on April 21st, which also happened to be his 34th birthday.

"He looks great and I'm excited to see where he is," Witten said with a smile.

"People don't realize the will and kind of toughness he has. I think somewhere it got lost because we were playing Philadelphia but he played most the that game (the Washington game) with the back injury and won the game for us."

 "He looks good.  I see him running out there.  It's always good to have him out there.  I think he's gonna be better than ever and I'm excited for this season."

Witten on the 2014 Schedule
With the Cowboys schedule coming out this week, Witten admits he looks at it and says it's "tough" starting right away with the San Francisco 49ers in the opener on September 7th.

What's Crucial for Late Season Success
While it's easy to downplay the impact these offseason workouts have, Witten warns against that.

"Winning in December and January, a big part of this is how the training camp goes and our offseason work," he said after the event.  "I think it's critical in our development as a football team."

On the Draft
He also admits he's not a draft geek.  While Witten is a college football fan, he's not watching the mock draft or waiting with bated breath to see who the Cowboys select.  He's happy to find out with the rest of us.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Playoff Fashion: What to Wear to the Stars Games

The Stars look to even their first round series against the Ducks at 7pm tonight at the AAC.  Dallas proved it was ready for playoff hockey with an electric, packed house Monday night in the Stars shutout win over Anaheim.  It was an AWESOME atmosphere.

The Fashion Conundrum
Stars fans will wear team gear to games.  For many women coming from work, though, it's difficult to change into a jersey or throw on a t-shirt.  That's why I suggest wearing Stars-green accessories that still prove you're a fan but have you looking the part when you get to the game or watching party.


Gear Featuring the Stars Logo

Buy the Looks Featured in This Post

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Playoff Fashions: What to Wear to the Mavs Games

The Mavericks try to even their first round series with the Spurs tonight in San Antonio.  The series shifts to Dallas this weekend when the Mavs host the Spurs at 3:30 on Saturday.  Game 4 is Monday at 8:30pm.

Dirk Nowitkzi had a terrible Game 1, posting just 11 points on 4 of 14 shooting.  My money on is him not having another lackluster game.  He has historically rebounded from bad postseason outings with great performances. Bank on it.

The Fashion Problem
The NBA ignores its female fans when it comes to t-shirts and stylish gear to support your favorite team.  It especially ignores Mavs fans.  I recently found more Spurs, Heat & Nets gear in Dallas stores than I did Mavs gear.

One of the few cute Mavs ladies t-shirts I've found online
The Solution
Instead of wasting money on an overpriced t-shirt that isn't stylish, try to find clothing in Mavs colors.  The team will also have t-shirts on seats for fans going to Saturday's game, so you can throw that one over what you're wearing.

Here is a range of looks that work within the Mavs blue color scheme.

I love the idea of throwing a scarf over your workday outfit or wearing jewelry in the same color scheme of your favorite team.  It's a way to stay stylish and supportive at the same time.

The Takeaway
The good thing about Mavs games is that you can dress up.  A dress, a t-shirt paired with a blazer or a simple blue top over jeans will all work perfectly and prove you're a true MFFL.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Women are Changing the Travel Game

Love this story in Forbes about the influence women yield when it comes to travel decisions.  

Casa Batllo in Barcelona
"Women are fueling an explosive growth, making 80% of decisions and expected to spend more than $125 billion this year," writes author Cecilia Rodriguez

This reflects the norm in my life and in all the relationships I have had.  I have always been the one longing to get the heck out of dodge.  

Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, England
What's also interesting is that the "average adventure traveler is not 28 and male but 47 and female, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. 

Why is that?  Is it because these women are facing an empty nest and experiencing an "Eat, Pray, Love" epiphany?  Perhaps.  

Whatever the reason, do it.  Travel is one of the few things that costs money but makes you richer.  And don't be afraid to do it alone.  I have done Barcelona, Paris, Israel and many domestic trips solo.  Sure, there are certain safety issues you must consider but the joys of solo travel range from self-discovery to being able to tell some great stories down the road.

Jerusalem's Old City
Travel Tips for the Single Gal on the Go
Read this for my travel trips for single women

So if you're on the fence about planning that trip this year, don't be.  Do it.  Life is too short not explore this wonderful world and experience the best of it. 

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Join Us For Mickey & Miller's Cowboys Hour on Monday

The Cowboys begin offseason workouts on Monday.  Find out who is at the Ranch, who has been working out there for the past few months and how some of the players have been spending their offseason.

Those are just a few things Mickey Spagnola and I will discuss in our upcoming Google+ Cowboys chat.

It's Mickey & Miller's Cowboys Hour live from the Dallas Cowboys TV studio at Valley Ranch.

You never know who will drop by!

You can watch by clicking this link or simply logging watching in the video box on this page.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Learn How The PGA Tour's New Bag & Purse Policy Will Affect You

The PGA Tour is taking a page from the NFL and has implemented a new bag and purse policy for 2014 that restricts what patrons can bring into tournaments.

How will this affect you if you're heading to the HP Byron Nelson Championship May 11-18 or Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial May 19-25th?  Well, the policy is a bit more liberal than the NFL's because it allows opaque diaper bags, something the NFL prohibits.

Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette
Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette
The PGA Tour's purse restrictions call for tiny bags, though, allowing a bag that is 6"x6" or smaller.  Finding a purse 6 inches (roughly the length of a dollar bill) or smaller is tough. I scoured the internet for bags that work.

Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette works for just about any purse policy.  It measures at 5.5" wide and 3.7" tall.
small Prada crossbody bag
Prada Small Zip Saffiano Crossbody Bag
This small Prada crossbody bag is another stylish option.

Let me vent: This screams of another policy designed by a mostly male staff that has no clue about real world problems women face when it comes to carrying our crap.

Here is the actual policy:

PGA Tour Bag Guidelines, PGA Tour Purse Policy, PGA TOUR Bag Policy

For more information visit the PGA Tour's website.

This is Only the Beginning
Expect restrictive bag and purse policies to become to the norm.  Leagues and organizations claim that the policy is primarily for security, citing 2013's Boston Marathon bombing as the impetus for tighter restrictions.

One NFL source told me that these policies simply make the security screening process easier.  Meaning fans can get into the game quicker because bags are easier to check and security screeners have fewer judgement calls to make.

The source indicated he wouldn't be surprised if the NBA and MLB followed suit.

Shop Purses That Fit Within the PGA Tour's Purse Policy

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Closer Look at The Parisian Diet

Eat sumptuous food and lose weight? On The Parisian Diet you can do it.

La Duree
Parisian Diet mastermind Dr. Jean Michel-Cohen is a popular French nutrition expert. He released a cookbook Light French Recipes: A Parisian Diet Cookbook here in May.  There are three phases to the diet:
  • The Cafe Phase - a kickstart, lasting 8-10 days which includes plenty of liquids
  • The Bistro Phase - a 2-3 week period in which you consume fiber and protein-rich meals
  • The Gourmet Phase - the longterm phase you maintain until you reach your ideal weight. 
The main tenets of his diet are simple:
  • Quality, not quantity - meaning smaller portions of food.  No supersizing.
  • Savor your food and avoid mindless eating.  A meal is a ritual in which to celebrate, not chow down at your desk.  I have a bad habit of doing this. 
  • Don't deprive - skip a salad if you don't love it!  Instead eat a smaller portion of something you love rather than a large salad you'll hate consuming. 
It's somewhat along the lines of Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat.

I tend to lose weight when I visit France (and any other foreign country, for that matter).  But what's interesting when I visit France is that I indulge.  Granted, we usually walk about five or more miles a day but there isn't one bit of restraint.  We eat cheese, drink wine, eat desserts, macarons and sumptuous, multi-course meals.   Here's the thing: the portions are small and the ingredients are fresh.

Here is a typical Parisian vacation diet, in pictures.


I visited Eric Kayser every morning to pick up pastries. 
This was my daily breakfast which is a departure from my normal routine of a green smoothie, oatmeal or toast and peanut butter.  We would get four pastries: one for me, my husband, my daughter and one to share.  Notice how these aren't huge.


Lunch at Ma Cocotte
This was a normal lunch.  We would usually also have salad and dessert....and a few more glasses of wine.

The final meal of the day was either one of two things: a blowout dinner or not much at all.

Dinner at Maxim's

Dessert at Maxim's

Treating my daughter like a queen! 
We celebrated my birthday in 2013 at Maxim's at around 10pm one evening.  Sure it's touristy but it was a wonderful experience.

Crepes, cheese, champagne and fruit for dinner
On other nights, after having a large lunch we would eat a smaller dinner featuring what you see above.  The thing about dinners in Paris is that there is no late night snacking, something I struggle with at home.  Once the kitchen is closed, it's closed.  No more food after dinner.

The ubiquitous bottle of wine
We had wine at almost every meal.  Generally a bottle split between the two of us.

Oreos! Mon dieu!
Don't think the French are perfect.  Look what I found at the grocery store...processed food!

The Takeaway 
The Parisian Diet isn't a new concept.  It's one that most nutrition experts advocate: eat real food, smaller portions of it, be mindful when you eat and enjoy your food.

Whether in Paris or not, that's something most of us can do every day.

What foreign eating principles do you like? I love the Mediterranean approach to eating. Please share your favorite foreign diet concept in the comments section.

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