Read Off Balance. End of Story.

Photo Nov 15, 1 49 35 PM

I grew up loving the sport of gymnastics. I tried the sport, but figured out it really wasn’t for me. I was not born with that skill set. So I continue to show my love for the sport by watching it religiously.

Whenever the Olympics were (and are) happening, I eagerly wait for the women’s gymnastics events to take place. When they’re on I sit in front of the television, glued to my seat. My favorite team was the Magnificent Seven. This should be no surprise to anyone who grew up in the 1990’s and followed the sport. The entire team was remarkably talented.

But my favorite gymnast was Dominique Moceanu. This tiny gymnast packed so much power. At the age of 14, she was the youngest member of the American team and she kept her audience captivated. Along with her team, she went home with a gold medal from the Atlantic games.

However, not all was as perfect as it seemed to the outside world for this Olympian.

Moceanu’s book — Off Balance: A Memoir — is one of the many books I’ve read this year. As someone who followed the career of this gymnast, I was intrigued to see what she wrote about. I heard of some of the struggles she went through in her early career, but the book really gives you a picture of what she dealt with.

She gives you insight into not only her gymnastics career, but also her personal life. The pressure Moceanu felt from her family and the struggle with her father as she grew up is difficult to read. From the outside, you wouldn’t have known what she was going through until it was made public with her emancipation.

I highly recommend that you read Moceanu’s memoir, even if you didn’t grow up loving gymnastics. Her story of growth and perseverance is impactful.

If you want to know when she’s doing book signings, follow her on social media. I was fortunate enough to see she was at a signing two minutes down the road from me and I got to meet her, hence the picture above. She’s not only an awesome gymnast, but  more importantly, she’s an amazing human being from what I can tell.

Read her book. That is all.

Florida Keys, Here I Come!

Give me sand. Give me sunshine. Give me the beach.

I will be escaping the chilly Cleveland air to experience my first visit to the Florida Keys. And let me tell you, I cannot wait.

The part I’m looking forward to most, you ask? The road trip. I’ve heard that the drive through the Keys is one of the best parts of visiting the islands. Who wouldn’t want to stare at the ocean for hours and make pitstops at the local hangouts?

I’ll be starting in Key Largo and am really excited to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s known as one of the best places to snorkel. Don’t like to snorkel? I hear they have glass-bottom boats, too! There are so many options to experience the ocean, so there’s something for everyone.

After Key Largo, I’ll be making the trek down to Key West. Across the Seven Mile Bridge I go. (Jumping with joy!) Along the way, stops will be made in Marathon and Islamorada. To do what? I don’t know yet. But why not just stop and enjoy the view? That’s supposed to be the lifestyle of the Keys, right? Relaxation at its finest!

Share your suggestions on what I should do in the comments! It’s my first time visiting and am open to anything. Until then, I sit and wait for the day to come where my plane leaves the ground.

Join the Fit For Fall Charity Challenge!


Have you heard of Katrina and Karena of Tone It Up? If not, you should start listening. They’re starting an amazing challenge this fall called the Fit For Fall Charity Challenge. Not only are you working on bettering yourself and health, but you’re giving back to charity while you do it – for FREE! How? Here’s the way you do it.

  1. Sign up. Click this link! It’s that simple.
  2. Download the Charity Miles app and find the Team @ToneItUp. This app tracks the miles you walk, run or bike. A sponsor pays 25 cents per mile to a charity of your choice.
  3. Think about a cause, group or organization that means a lot to you. What’s great is that you can choose a charity that is near and dear to your heart and work your butt off for them. To try and earn more money for your charity, add the organization’s link in your social media profiles. Every week, Tone It Up will choose 5 winners to donate $200 on your behalf.
  4. Share the picture at the bottom of this post on social media and let the world know you’re in for the Fit For Fall Charity Challenge. Tag @ToneItUp, #TUIteam and #CharityChallenge. Easy!
  5. Last but not least, download your 100 mile tracker. Every time you complete some miles, feel the satisfaction by crossing the numbers off as you go! Get the tracker here. 

That’s it folks. For everyone out there looking to take steps to better your health, I recommend signing up for this challenge. Better yourself. Better the world by giving to charity. Good luck and happy exercising!


Hotel Review: Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

I recently had a quick business trip out to Provo, Utah and stayed at the Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. A quick review is in order!

  1. The front desk staff was lovely. They were extremely kind. The bellhop was eager to help us with our bags and check in was extremely quick.
  2. The restaurant had great food choices. The group of us split some appetizers and they did not disappoint. BBQ chicken flatbread, hummus, and chicken quesadillas are all solid choices if you’re looking for a mix of food. An onsite restaurant is always convenient, too. It’s even better when the food is delicious.
  3. The view is spectacular. This was my first time out to Utah and the mountains are beautiful. When I looked out my window in the morning, I saw hot air balloons lining the sky with the mountains as the backdrop. Sigh, I miss the views already back in the flat lands of Ohio.
  4. The room was spacious and the bed was extremely comfortable. And, let’s be honest, that’s hard to come by in a hotel.

I may be biased because I truly enjoy staying at Marriott’s, but I recommend staying at this hotel if you’re looking for a place in Provo. The price was about $200 with taxes, so not terribly expensive. You pay a little more for the onsite amenities and it being a higher scale Marriott. But you’ll be comfortable and treated well!

Recipe: Copy Cat Zupas Nuts About Berries Salad

I attended a business meeting in Utah last week and had a delicious salad from a place called Zupas. First I’ll mention that I’m a picky eater and don’t really like salads, but am trying to force myself into eating them. The Nuts About Berries salad is right up my alley. One of the best aspects, besides the berries, is the cinnamon toasted almonds and poppy seed dressing.

Desperate to recreate the salad here in Ohio, I found a copy cat recipe online (check out iheartnaptime!) that I wanted to share with you all.


  • Fresh spinach or mixed greens
  • Fresh strawberries (cut)
  • Fresh blackberries – I opted for blueberries
  • Fresh raspberries

Poppy seed dressing:

  • 1 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp poppy seed

Cinnamon sugared almonds:

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Wash your salad mix and berries, set aside.
  2. Dressing – Combine all the ingredients in a blender or mason jar and mix until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Almonds – In a small frying pan, combine your almonds and sugar. Cook on medium/low heat and water closely. Keep stirring as the sugar begins to melt, to keep it  from burning. Once sugar has coasted the nuts, sprinkle with cinnamon and remove from heat. Place on foil to cool.

Enjoy the salad! It’s perfect for summer. :)