Getting Back Together With My Gym (with a little help from my friends)

I’m happy to share that after a very trying time – and, of course, taking full blame for the neglect that caused the relationship to fail in the first place – my gym and I have gotten back together.  Maybe it’s because spring is finally in the air, but my gym and I have found a new understanding.  I think that this time, it’s going to last.

All kidding aside, this winter was not my healthiest.  I lost sight of so many of my good habits and healthy practices and gave way to a hibernation-like lifestyle instead.  Spring isn’t reason or motivation enough to break these bad habits – we all know this – because many people continue on with them throughout the year, and year after year.  However, I’m very lucky because I have some really healthful and inspiring (New Jersey) people in my life who’ve helped me see the error of my ways – and also the ways to go about fixing them.  I am giving them full credit for getting me back on track.

Finding your Better Body is possible with Dre

Dre The Trainer
You may recognize Andre (Dre The Trainer) Farnell from some of the pics we took together at last summer’s Make A Wish event in NYC.  I was fortunate enough to work with him over the summer and took a boot camp class with him.  It was Dre who got me running (I mean really running) for the first time in my life, and it was Dre who got me accustomed to waking up at 5am to workout.  Now (and I know this is going to sound crazy to a lot of you), waking up early in the morning to exercise is something that I actually look forward to at the end of the day!  Starting my day with a great workout makes it a lot easier for me to make better choices throughout the day.

It’s much easier than you might think to get addicted to what Dre suggests you do – he doesn’t give you much of a choice!  He is so motivated, and so convincing, and so relentless, and just makes so much good sense, that you find yourself doing the right things.  His attitude of no-room-for-excuses has really helped me keep going when I could easily have done otherwise.

Following Dre The Trainer on facebook, twitter, and reading his newsletters this winter has helped me remember those awesome feelings and find the motivation I need to get back on track.

A Healthy Habit seems easy with help from Erica

Erica’s Heathy Habits 
Knowing why you should do something isn’t always enough to get you to do it.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  It just does.  We’re busy these days.  Working a full-time job, starting your own business, blogging,  and maintaining a social life can leave little room for making the most healthful choices.  When you’re in the car a lot (like I am) and on the go, it’s hard to make “real” oatmeal for breakfast and much easier to grab whatever is on the counter at the shop where you slop your coffee together in the morning, and at the end of the day, it’s a lot simpler to meet up with friends (whom you haven’t seen in forever because of busy schedules) at a restaurant for an oversized-portion of something that looks shiny and delicious on the menu than it is to go home and whip up something healthy from scratch.  Being healthy is just plain easier said than done.

Erica, from Erica’s Healthy Habit, gets this.  She’s probably just as busy as I am, but she still finds ways to incorporate healthful things into her lifestyle.  Her philosophy is that being healthy needs to be a habit, and I think she’s right.

Dre, making sure that I gave my workout my all (and I did!)

I love following her on twitter and reading her blog because I can relate to her busy lifestyle.  As she incorporates new, healthy treats into her day or a fun new way to workout, and stays motivated, I can’t help but think, “If she can do it, so can I!”

Check out these really great folks and let me know if they inspire you too!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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Make-A-Wish Foundation event at Katra Lounge (July 2010)

The Jersey Girl at the Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit in NYC

Last week, on Thursday, July 29th, I was very fortunate to attend a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the Katra Lounge in New York City.  Though it took place in NY, this benefit was organized by New Brunswick, NJ resident and owner of the Better Body Expert, Dre Farnell.  Many people from the entertainment and fashion industries of NY and NJ were in attendance to raise money and celebrate the wonderful work that the Make-A-Wish Foundation does, since 1980, granting wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions.

We first listened to the story of Paul Rosario whose wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation when he was a child – the most amazing thing about his story, is that Rosario was there to tell it to us himself.  Having fully recovered from the Leukemia that he battled as a child, Rosario is extremely grateful for the positive impact that the Make-A-Wish Foundation has had in his life and volunteers as a speaker with the organization.

Rich Malouf of the Malouf Auto Group, North Brunswick, NJ, with Make-A-Wish Foundation speaker Paul Rosario

Other invited guests were asked to speak and tell personal stories of what it is like, as an adult, to have a dream or a wish and what their individual paths have been like to make them come true.  Levar Riley, of West Orange, NJ told the story of starting his own successful dry cleaning business in Newark, NJ, called Lil’ BoSheep Dry Clean & Laundry Service.  Nicole Lundy, a makeup artist and owner of Ne’Lani Cosmetics, who lives in New Brunswick, NJ, shared her dreams of starting her own, all-natural, skin care line – and the exiting news that it will be launched this fall.

Dre Farnell, Levar Riley, me and Rick Gray

Farnell, the Better Body Expert, was motivated to host the fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation because his own nephew had a life-threatening condition when he was a child, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted a wish for him. Farnell wanted to give back to the organization that helped his family through a very difficult time and organized this event along with Rick Gray of the ADA Group.  Farnell energetically spoke about his own dreams of working for himself and becoming a personal trainer and life coach.  He also shared how important it is for him to help others achieve their dreams – the theme of the night’s event.

Joan Morris (my mom), Alison Malouf (my sister) and me with Nicole Lundy of Ne'Lani Cosmetics

It was an honor that, among these inspiring individuals, I had the opportunity to speak and share my story of pursuing my own dreams (of writing and traveling).  As a teacher, I work with students who have dreams and wishes, and a large part of my job is teaching them how to believe in themselves and that they can accomplish anything that they want to do – no matter how big the dream may seem or how small they may feel.  After a while, I realized that I needed to listen to my own good advice to follow my dreams and make my passions part of my regular life.  Now, as my dreams of writing and traveling are becoming a reality, I know that I am also a much more effective teacher for my students who can see, from my example, that with a little hard work and a strong belief in yourself, anything is possible.

Giving my speech at the Make-A-Wish event at Katra Lounge

It is never too early or too late to go after your own dream or to do something to help somebody make their wish come true.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you can do so through this secure link.

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Make A Wish Come True

Networking and Charity Event to Benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation

On Thursday, July 29th, at the Katra Lounge in NYC from 5pm to 10pm, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other go-getters from a variety of professional fields will share inspirational stories about how they find the motivation and the courage to pursue their life’s dream – something that not everybody is willing to do.

The networking event is being organized by New Jersey resident, Andre Farnell (Dre’ The Trainer) of Better Body Expert LLC.  He is a Fitness Expert and life coach in the New York/New Jersey area who has worked training soldiers in the US Army, numerous corporate executives, athletes, and those in the entertainment industry.

Inspired by the role that the Make-A-Wish Foundation played in empowering and encouraging his young nephew, who at the age of 8 was diagnosed with Leukemia, a form of bone marrow cancer, Farnell, who is dedicated to helping people regain great health and change their lives through physical fitness, wanted to create an event to empower people to “Live their Passions” in their careers while giving back to the organization.

The night of the event, a $25 minimum donation will be collected at the door by Make-A-Wish volunteers.  100% of the proceeds from the event will go directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.   Farnell hopes that people who attend the event will realize that their wishes and dreams should be pursued beyond childhood and take action.

Farnell is very excited about hosting the event and says “This is going to be fun & inspirational event that brings some great people together from many industries and also brings in some great donations for the Make A Wish Foundation.”

I’m honored to be a part of this important event and want to share it all with you.  I know too many people who’ve given up on their dreams, and this will be an amazing opportunity for people to begin working toward them instead.  Come to Katra Lounge in NYC on July 29th and check it out!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

For those of you who can’t make the event, you can still help.  A secure page for online donations has been created. Please click here and give what you can and help “make a wish come true.”