The Flawed Writer


Nearly a year ago, with fresh and renewed enthusiasm I started back into the world as a journalist, as a blogger as a writer, the deepest of my passions. I had an entirely new life. From my job, to my partner, my zip code, my life, everything was new, different, exciting and scary all at once and I was feeling fierce. Feeling alive and ready to get back into the most challenging part of my life: writing.

When my life turned completely around (by my own doing) I took a sabbatical from my freelance journalism career. But in the end of summer of ’14 I was ready to dive in again. My new job posting with its four hour commutes to Philly gave me time and space to think, create and write again.

So late one summer day I posted here about my experiences as a “flawed mother” something that had resonated with me in a lovely book I’d read. I posted my angst about being a working mother, a mother who chose life for myself versus a life living through my darling, adored child. I felt selfish, yet my beliefs about living for yourself while giving your loved ones time and attention is the best lived life. I exposed myself, my fears, my flaws. I felt brave in doing so, despite knowing that some would vehemently disagree with me. But a writer knows that being true to oneself and putting it out there and hoping to get at least one person to consider a different point of view IS being a writer, and damn the torpedoes!

That’s me, in a nutshell. Me, The Writer.

Yet what happened to that one vulnerable post took the wind out of my pages. More than anything I’d expected to ever encounter.

The timing of my “Flawed Mother” post came just days before a very personal, difficult death in my “family”‘and unfortunately for me one of the people also affected by this tragic moment is a bully. She did not like the role I played during this most emotional and personal time. She felt “ousted” so she did what bullies always do when they are most insecure; lash out and aim to hurt. She made things personal. She  attacked me and my “Flawed Mother” post on a very, very personal and inappropriate level. She attacked me publicly, but worse she attacked my family and loved ones through this public post.

That was the last time I wrote.

Until now.

As insecure writers, this would be difficult enough to handle, but she made it about my family. I don’t take that lightly and rather than attack back, I circled the wagons and put up the armor to protect them. And yes at the same time I shielded myself.

Nearly a year later I was bullied again, this time at work and as I sat in my jumpseat, tears falling into my lap wondering how to deal with this face to face bully I knew to I couldn’t confront her like I did in junior high school with a knock out punch that earned me the knickname Muhammad. But I HAD to confront it. I thought about what I’d tell my son if he was bullied, if it happened to him. And that’s when it actually occurred to me that I’d been bullied publicly too and that I hadn’t written since the attack on me almost a year ago.

See the one thing I hate the most is fear.

I’ve never lived my life in fear, except now. Now I was afraid to write, to confront my bullies head on. To keep doing what I love, writing and flying, to face my bullies. To live fearlessly in ALL aspects.

Well I thought a lot about what I’d say to my work bully, and you know what? I never got the chance to say what was on my mind. She treated me VERY differently from the moment we got out of our jumpseats, and it’s continued that way ever since. But I was prepared. I was not afraid of her anymore.

And the same goes here. My fearlessness is back. I’ve found my thick journalist’s skin I wore so well not that long ago. And I feel at home in my skin and in the pages once again.

So yes, I am truly a flawed mother, but who isn’t? I deeply love my son and would die for him, but I also have a life and spirit that is all my own. And what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t get back into the fray and fight to be true to myself? What kind of journalist, what kind of writer would I be if I didn’t lay bare my soul for all to see? I wouldn’t be ME that’s who I’d be, and for me that’s no way to live, scary fear and all, cause honestly that’s half the fun. 😉

As the anniversary of this tragic life changing death in our family approaches I am grateful to the one adult person it affected the most as I watch her grab a new life, leading HER family through the fray, more beautiful and strong as ever. I dedicate this post to you Emily Carroll. Thank you for being fearless and spreading love everywhere you go.

So I’ll leave you, my dear readers, with my favorite quote so you can trust I will be true to me the writer for YOU my reader:

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open,” Natalie Goldberg


The Flawed Mother


On a whim I picked up a book today, “How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits” by the quad  Parisiennes ~ Berest, Diwan, de Miaret, and Mas.

It was the “Bad Habits” that hooked me, cause let’s face it, if you know me at all you know I am a keeper of bad habits (and an enthusiastic one at that!).

So I thought, hey, if the iconic Parisian women also have bad habits then well,  je bascule! I don’t consider myself anything as classic, fashionable or even remotely a woman with that, ummm… je ne sais quoi. You know, in short, nothing like a Parisian woman. Yet, I deeply admire them (at least our stereo typical view of them, because that’s really all I know of them) and I find them fascinating.

But then I read something that made me feel somewhat akin to these amazing women. The section titled “A Mother with Flaws.” Now this is something that resonates with me!

I eagerly devoured every word on the page. It’s a short section but filled with truths for me. As I read, these four mothers, these four authors who put their feelings, emotions and realities on the page for us all to see, admit to being selfish women. In the first line no doubt!!

Yes, I am selfish as well. I’ve struggle with my needs versus my duties as a mother. I feel guilty when I do put mine first and I frequently fall victim to feeling that I am not as good of a mother as I should be (no surprise if you’re a mom, or parent for that matter!). That I should give more to my son, or that I’m not creative enough or entertaining enough for him. That a lot of the times what I chose to do with him is what I like or know. I often feel a lack of parental creativity so I fall back on what I know, which tends to be more adult like or things I would do.

And then in comes the guilt.

Let’s face it, all parents struggle with balancing our needs with those of our children’s, and often to the detriment of ourselves. I know countless women (and men) who put their own needs so far at the bottom of the list that they never get to their needs and that isn’t good for anybody. But neither is putting our needs ahead of theirs at all costs.

So what’s a parent to do?

Be yourself. Revel in who you are and what you have to offer.

So as I read on I noticed something: I am more Parisienne-like than I thought, at least in motherhood and maybe this isn’t a bad thing.

“Let’s be honest: the Parisienne is a selfish woman. A loving mother, yes, but nonetheless incapable of forgetting herself completely…. The Parisienne does not stop existing after she has a child. She does not give up her somewhat adolescent lifestyle…” the section goes on to explain. I can soooo relate to this. I’m feeling better about my own selfishness to some degree at this point.

“She wants to be there to educate her child, to watch him grow up, to pass on her values, her culture, her philosophy… Her child is not king, because he is a satelite to her own life. At the same time, her child is omnipresent because this satelite follows his mother everywhere and together they share valuable moments. He might join her at a lunch, accompany her to a boutiqiue, end up at a concert or cocktail party, where he will fall asleep on a sofa where she watches over him with equal parts guilt and tenderness.”

Yes. Yes I have done that. On more than one occasion. And yes I have felt the guilt but also felt the excitement of him living in the moment and being a part of the “real” world around him. And it is here that I fully connect with these Parisiennes. That these moments that detour off the schedule, where he sleeps in a pub in Hong Kong or a football game that goes past his bedtime, will show him moments of what lies ahead for him in the adult world. Together we share memories and experiences of life beyond childhood. These are the parts of life we dream about as children! It is also here, the authors point out, that what he sees as these joyful moments are also his future, or this joie de vivre, according to the Parisienne. And also “…the best way of inspiring children to grow up. And the best way for mothers to never miss the lives they led before they had children.” I love this because as I’ve stated before I believe in living life to its fullest, to experience life and loving what it has to offer.

And what better way than to than to share your life with your child, to show him that being a grown up is just as fun as being a child.

Asleep at the pub Honk Kong nights.

Asleep at the pub Hong Kong nights.

The Mother of a Guilt Trip I’m Taking



Yeah, I made the decision to change bases from Phoenix, AZ where I’ve lived and worked for the former America West Airlines for almost 30 years as a flight attendant, to Philadelphia, PA. But decisions are hard, especially for me – let’s clear here – I really hate to make them, especially the last minute ones. I agonize over them!! The, “well if I do this, A could happen and do I want that?, What if I do and B happens? Or not…”

Strangely tho the best and easiest decisions for me to make are the kind I don’t think too much about, the ones I just dive right into, the “by the seat of your pants” kinds my mom always said I lived by. Sure, that creates its own set of problems but I’m usually in it and can adapt and see the silver lining. A blessing or a curse, I don’t know which. Either way, every good parent in the world will tell you they struggle, feel guilt, experience anxiety, stress and fear over making big and small decisions that affect their kids. It’s called “Parenthood.”

But also in the big scheme of things, a) life goes on, b) don’t sweat the small stuff, and probably the biggest one of all, c) the kids are gonna be alright.

Which was NOT my mantra yesterday when I’d turned down/missed my opportunity to move my Paris trip up a day earlier so I would be home all day for Halloween instead of getting home right at candy collecting time (yes, please play the violins for me here… immmm, what? Crickets? 🙂 Yeah, yeah, I get it, but to finish my point it’s still work and I could’ve finagled things to have my crepe and eat it too. But I didn’t. Why? The aforementioned fear of change, fear of decisions, fear that I’d mess up everyone else’s schedules I’d already committed too. Sorta solid reasons, but in short, thinking too much about it.

So when I looked at the flights for yesterday’s four-hour commute to Philly (should I have done the trip) they were wide opened, stress free! (No I do not get paid to get from my home base to my work base – that’s all me baby!). But today’s flight, ugggh!!! FULL, full, and fuller. Oy, and to top it off my position on the standby list was falling, fast! Hmmmm.three seats, and now instead of being no. 1 on the list I was no. 8. and there were a few other flight attendants commuting so it would be fingers crossed at how many jumpseats were available to get us all there on time.

Crap no 1! Shoullda taken the damn earlier Paris trip!

Flights wide open both ways, getting home on Thursday evening instead of Friday… BONUS!

However, my Friday night commute home flight looks good seat wise, and all good until I learned there is only ONE afternoon flight home from Philly Friday!!! HOLY SHIT!! How’d I miss that nugget?1?

Crap no. 2! Again!! Shoulda taken the damn earlier Paris trip!! (Now to be honest, I had a slim chance of getting it but I should’ve been more proactive in securing it, and yes, this is where parent decision fear of missing Halloween comes in). Followed by the inevitable guilt that I may screw up being with my son on Halloween comes in. Followed by the anxiety and stress of any crazy shit happening with my last chance commute home for Halloween.

Great!! LOVE being a working parent with limited controls over my schedule!!

But then I hear my mom’s soothing voice in my  head, “honey don’t sweat the small stuff.”

So what is the small stuff exactly here??

One small stuff: You can’t control everything so just let it go. When you’re sweating the small stuff you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the great big stuff right in front of you, HELLO?!? Umm, Im going to PARIS!!

Two small stuff: One Halloween missed does not make me a bad parent, just a lonely albeit thinner one. (Bonus on the laterlol!)

Three small stuff: And major blessing at the same time: My SON will not miss the amazing Halloween I and his Modern Family and friends have set up for him. He will still get to Trick-or-Treat with his friends in his own cool costume as Jeff Corwin (the animal biologist on the Discovery Channel). His “people” aka dad, dad’s girlfriend, my boyfriend and his friend’s moms and dads will make sure he gets his costume set, a candy bag, his friends to and from the State Fair  for the ultimate Halloween (thank you Kristi Meyer Walsh for that!!) and then back to our house for the Halloween sleepover. I am at peace knowing he will have the Halloween we planned for him. And grandma is always at the ready should anything fall through the cracks!

I hate when I second guess my decisions, especially when I find out that decision A would’ve, in hindsight, been better than the decision I’ve made (or not, by default) and currently living.

Yes, these are the small stuffs we parents sweat every day. But we also have to make a living, we have to do our jobs and when I think about all the parents I know that are working their butts off providing for, succeeding at and yes even loving their jobs while missing some events throughout our kids’ lives, I realize, in the Big Picture it is just the small stuff.

But the one thing I want to teach and instill in my son more than anything else in the world is that life is full of choices, ups and downs, fun and not so fun stuff, but I want him to learn to LIVE LIFE FULLY. To enjoy the moment he is in, because if he’s not then he’s missing the great stuff that’s happening RIGHT NOW. I want him to live a little like I do, looking for fun, enjoying life at it’s fullest even if the day or moment isn’t exactly what you expected it to be, because life is great if you let it be. And not to put too small a point on it, I will always be his mom, I will always love him and he is always in my heart even when I’m not with him while he’s living his life. And that’s the most important thing I can instill in him, to be confident he is loved, cause this isn’t about me, it’s about him.

May all your frights stay at bay this Halloween and your pumpkin filled to the brim with treats!

The Quiet Observer


There are times in my life as a mother where I get to quietly observe my son and his experience of life. Although these moments are rare they are my most cherished memories. It’s in these moments I am fully engaged, everything exaggerated. I can remember the smells, the temperature of the air, when the breeze blew and ruffled my hair and when it did not.

Recently there have been three that stand out, where I truly allowed myself the luxury of being what I call the Quiet Observer.

The first was when we were in Hong Kong. The second was the day he road his bike all by himself. The third was the day we went for a bike ride, just the two of us, to the park.

I let him lead the way and make all the decisions on where we went and as beautiful as that was, what I remember most, was swinging with him on the swings in the park.

Henry has never learned how to swing properly. It’s been starts and stops and fits of frustrations with lectures and examples of how to “Pump your legs! Do it like this! Watch me, watch your friends! “which usually ended in tears or more often in a silent giving up by both parties culminating with tummy swinging and spinning in circles, feet dragging in the dirt creating whirlwinds of dust clouds.

Today was different.

Today, in my reverie, my Quiet Observer moment, I was asked by my son if I would hold his hand while we swung next to each other. This was the first time he’d asked me this and I said yes, of course, very aware of the moment, the freedom of being without expectations of what I needed or wanted him to do.

I will never forget when he streched his little hand out to mine, smiling up at me, the warmth of his palm, his little fingers clasped tightly around my hand, as we pushed away from the ground together, hand-in-hand, little swirls of dust kicking up under us as we glided over our starting point.

And we swung. HE swung, small legs pumping in rhythm to my much longer strides, but he was doing it! He was swinging for the first time ever, on his own he was doing the movements that every kid, this big one included, takes for granted when you get on a swing. I watched as he’d lean back and pull forward, the wind blowing his hair away from his forehead. His eyes closed and a smile on his face. I couldn’t have been in a more blissful state. I was so at peace watching him float through the air that I too decided to let go and just swing. Leaning back, floating forward, air running along my arms and face, through my hair, his hand in mine. It wasn’t easy this tandem swing but we did it, the two of us. When I opened my eyes I turned to look at him and he was looking at me, his beautiful smile on his face and his blue-green eyes twinkling in the dusk light. His checks, flush and rosy from the cool evening air, forever captured in my memory. In my internal flash drive, I still remember it all.

As often as I try (and wish) to capture these moments on film, I realize that sometimes being IN THE MOMENT, REALLY, being in the moment is better than any picture. The feelings, the tactile experience, the emotions cannot be captured on film and it’s these moments that will be with me a lifetime.

So you want to be a writer? by Charles Bukowski


Yes. Dreadful. Painful. Personally malicious. Yes. Yes I want to be a writer. No, I AM a writer. I can’t stop myself. I find myself these days staying up late at night, into the early hours of the morning writing, rewriting, thinking, plotting, smoking cigars drinking too much wine but yet I am and doing it all over again because, yes it is bursting out of me for the first time in years. With red, blurry, puffy eyes I sit in front of my glowing screen to write what’s been locked away, screaming to get out because I can no longer contain it. And thank you Charles Bukowski for giving me permission to lose hours of sleep for something I’ll never make millions of dollars for but doing something that I absolutely love. Something I can’t stop myself from doing anymore, happily I will never be one of the 40,000 (male or not) you so eloquently and indelibly etched upon me many years ago.


Love Punch


Now this is a Valentine’s Day tradition I can get behind. Yummmmeeee!


Enjoying Joyride Taco House on Central.

Enjoying Joyride Taco House on Central.

I’ve been tasked to explain why I like Phoenix better than Tempe, why to me that it makes me feel more alive than being in Tempe does. I’ve tried many times to verbally explain it, but well, I’m a writer and not so good with the spoken word. So here I will attempt to put into written words the things Phoenix makes me feel.

To that end I was fortunate to find Upwards Projects blog post about Federal Pizza featuring Old Bisbee Brewing Co. beers. It gave me the platform and foundation for what it is that I find invigorating about Phoenix.

First, I am an energetic, passionate, outgoing, social butterfly who loves old brick buildings and busy bustling hot spots. I love texture, wether it’s in the fabric of a wall paper or the people around me. The sounds of their voices and the energy of their collective souls is like my heartbeat. This makes me feel alive and I come by it, well, historically and a bit naturally I presume.

See I’m from the funkiest place in Arizona. I was born and raised in Bisbee, AZ.  A small, quirky, eclectic and friendly little town about 200 miles southeast of Phoenix. My dad and step mom still live in the same 100 year old rock house where I spent many summers. Bisbee has charm. Bisbee is bucolic. Bisbee is where copper miners, hippies, bikers, Daughters Of The American Revolution (DAR), church folk, CEOs and politicos all lived, socialized and played bridge together. People in Bisbee were friendly and neighborly when I was growing up. We knew everyone and visa versa. Sometimes a blessing, sometimes not so much. Anyway, I loved the ‘feel’ of Bisbee. The old buildings, the musty library, the creaky floors of my house. Going to Mrs. Browders’ candy shop and spending the two cents I had just found under my bed on candy, or putting some plastic horse on “layaway.” Going to the Dairy Queen for an ice cream after my sister’s softball team won a game.

I know you’re probably wondering, “What the hell does that have to do with Phoenix? Good lord it’s huge in comparison, and well, most developers have been quick to tear down just about any building over 10 years old just to put something new in it’s place!” And yes, in many ways you are right. But here’s what Phoenix is to me.

It’s the same place I’ve lived for the last 30 years, and for the most recent 17 I’ve lived in the same zip code, despite moving three times. It’s the place where I fought and beat breast cancer at the age of 23. It’s the place where my mom and I made a new start when Phelps Dodge moved the corporate headquarters from Douglas, AZ. It’s where I graduated from high school, met, fell in love with and married my son’s amazing dad. It’s where I had my adorable son, in the same hospital his dad was born in. It’s where I lived when I made it through journalism school while having said child.

But it isn’t just all the “living” that makes me like Phoenix better, although, one could argue, that’s enough. It’s because I’ve watched it grow and change. I’ve watched as Phoenix and local businesses and elected officials and neighbors all worked to create a very unique space in such a large area. Creating special places to eat, meet, drink, have coffee, shop and workout. Places like Windsor, Churn and Postino. Places like St. Frances, Chestnut and SideBar. Places like Hissy Fits, Paris Envy and Smeeks.

For the last 20 plus years I’ve watched as Phoenix somehow became a tight knit community of like-minded, yet very diverse people. People actually walk and ride their bikes now to these places. There isn’t the same cookie-cutter-ness (yes, not really a word, I am aware), that you find in many other parts of the Valley. You can sit in Lux Coffeebar and feel like you are in San Francisco or New York while you listen to light rail wiz along Central Ave. Visit Carmel’s Breakfast House on Camelback and sure enough you can almost hear the ocean as if you were in Newport Beach.

And in this joint venture that many have embarked on in making Phoenix different than the other ‘burbs here, the people have continue to be friendly, outgoing and helpful. At least that’s what I see every time I visit “home.” Somehow Phoenix has managed to create a huge, connected neighborhood out of some 40 or more square blocks.

What I see, and feel for that matter, is people want to be out, they want to be alive, and most importantly they WANT to connect with those around them. I don’t see or feel that in Tempe, at least not yet. But it’s harder to do that here. Like it used to be in Phoenix.

Phoenix is still where you’ll find 90 year old houses sitting next to more ‘modern’ Haver-like homes in little pockets of irrigated lots. Where kids can run and splash and slip in slide in the flooded yards like I did when I was a kid in my grandparents’ lot. (Yes, don’t remind me of the pollutants in the water, not my point here.) My point is that somehow Phoenix has managed to become this huge version of my childhood town. I don’t know if it really has or if I’m just seeing it how I want to see Phoenix, but I don’t think so.

It’s how I want my son to grow up. In this bigger version of my own childhood.  I waited a long time for Phoenix to become what I always dreamed it would be, and now it has, and for that I will always return to my “home” even if it’s just for an evening or a night supporting my home town through local venues like Federal Pizza, and for that I am grateful that Urban Phoenicians “get it.” They understand that it’s local involvement and community that really matters in the long run. Connecting with those around us, regardless of age, size, color, income etc. that makes life grand. Phoenicians want to get off the sofa and out in their front yard and meet their neighbors, and it doesn’t matter the size of city, they want to be neighborly. Urban Phoenicians KNOW it’s the Villiage that feed our collective souls and hearts, mine included.

The new “Modern Family”

Our Family

This is us. My family. My ex, his girlfriend, me, my son, my boyfriend and my mom.
Yep, we’re a crazy sorta love.

You’d think I’m crazy if you didn’t know me. Wait, yes, you would even if you did know me, but you know what, I’m okay with that. I love it. I’m a crazy sorta love with a crazy sorta family that I love. If I told you that I worry a lot about my ex husband and his girlfriend, you’d be surprised at what I worry about. No, not jealousy, no not crazy psycho problems, no not dead-beat dad stuff. Nope. It’s that they are doing great. I want them to be happy because I love them. I care about them, they are great people and two of my dearest friends. Weird, right? Well in today’s world of “It’s Complicated” relationships that have the expectations people have to hate each other if they no longer have an intimate, sexual relationship doesn’t fly with me. Life’s hard, messy, complicated and absolutely magical and beautiful. You choose. You pick which one it’s going to be for you: See the beauty in life and live or squeeze until you choke the life right out of it and you. I picked the former, so yeah, we’re kinda different but I like it that way and I consider myself and my family lucky, happy and a new kind of Modern Family.

~ BjW

Get Fit on a Bike Fast


Get Fit Fast On A Bike


If your goals this year include getting fit or losing weight, biking is an ideal choice that’s not just for athletes anymore. Biking is a great way to lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, and gain muscle strength and endurance all in one sport. Bicycling burns a lot of calories. Riding at a moderate speed, around 13-15 mph, you can burn upwards of 500 calories per hour–done daily that equals 3,500 calories, which is enough to lose one pound in a week! Bicycling is a high-reward workout.

Fully geared and single-geared bicycles (also called fixies), mountain bikes, road bikes, and cruisers–anyone from out-of-shape beginners to fitness fanatics can find a bike to suit his or her needs. Even the heaviest of riders can reap quick health benefits from riding, and without risk of joint injury. Cycling is a non-impact exercise so your joints won’t take a beating f rom repetitive jarring or pounding. Getting started is as simple as getting on the bike and making a commitment to ride every day–just ask Jason Robert of Tempe.

Robert’s story

In the summer of 2009, Robert was watching the Tour de France while vacationing at his in-laws’ house in Nova Scotia when he had his epiphany. “I couldn’t believe the f itness levels these guys had, some of them older than me,” he says. Robert was 36 years old and weighed 285 pounds the day of that race, and it was then that he decided he wanted to change.

“I decided by the time I turned 40 I wanted to be in shape and fit,” says Robert, and it all started the minute he

arrived home. Robert says he was so serious that he went straight f rom Sky Harbor International Airport, luggage and all, to REI to buy a bike.

Making the commitment to get up every morning at 4:30 to ride through the quiet Arizona State University Research Park before it was busy with morning traffic was challenging, he says, but worth it.The time and location gave him a safe place to ride while increasing his confidence and fitness level. Working out and fitness were new to him, says the much slimmed-down cyclist, who completed his first half-ironman last December. To date, he has completed the Tour de Scottsdale, Tour de Tucson, and many triathlons.

Establishing a routine

Establishing a regular riding routine (or any fitness routine) is the first and most important step in slimming down and getting f itter. Commit to riding at least an hour a day, and at least f our days a week, to speed up your f itness level and weight loss, but aim f or seven days a week to get the greatest caloric def icit. Cycling builds lean muscle tissue, which causes your body to burn calories at a higher rate, upping your basal metabolic rate (BMI), and allowing you to continue burning calories long after you’ve peeled off your jersey. Once you’ve established your regular cycling routine, up the ante on your caloric burn with interval training.

Interval training speeds up the fat-burning process. One can accomplish this by alternating between bursts of high-intensity speed, pedaling as fast as you can for about 30 seconds, followed by returning to your regular speed. If you do this during your regular hour ride on alternate days over a two-week period, your ability to burn fat increases by 36 percent, according to research in Journal of Applied Physiology. In just those 30 seconds of full-throttle, all-out sprinting in your highest gear, you amp your body’s furnace.Astudy by Laval University found that sprinters who burned only half as many calories during a regular workout still lost more weight and burned more calories than those who worked out at longer, slower speeds.

Robert agrees. “High-intensity intervals a few times a week spike your metabolism, and we all live time- compressed lives, so make the most of your one-hour ride,” he says.

The important thing to remember is to ease into interval training. Build up your endurance, confidence and comfort if you are brand-new to fitness or cycling, then add in your 30-second sprints.

Proper nutrition is the last component for maximizing your fitness and weight loss. Think in terms of nutrition, not diet. Most fad diets will not provide the proper nutrition to maintain performance and sustained weight loss–any diet that isn’t balanced will fall short. “There’s plenty of disagreement about what to eat even among seasoned, successful athletes, coaches and sports nutritionists,” notes Selene Yeager, writer for Bicycling.comandcyclingexpert.Onethingtheyallagreeon,however,istheimportanceof eatingrealfood. Eatfoodthatisunprocessedandinitsnaturalform.Eatplentyof fruits,vegetables,andleanprotein,and avoid unsaturated fat, and you will see results quickly.

Few exercises can beat bicycling for quick and effective weight loss. With its low-impact nature and the ability for all ages to join in, bicycling is a sport to consider.

Barbi Walker is a freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. Barbi lives in Phoenix with her husband and young son.


“Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike” and “Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling: Everything You Need to Know, From Buying Your First Bike to Winning Your First Race” Selene Yeager, Bicycling.



Yesterday I had two inspirational experiences. I’ve been questioning my path and direction a lot lately. I guess I’m not happy or content with my career’s path at the moment.

I’m a journalist, a writer, and insecurity and emotional turmoil are de ri·gueur, however these feelings have been more annoying than usual.

I met the most lovely man, Zang Toi, a couture fashion designer whom I interviewed for his trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Let’s be clear here, I am not a fashionable person, nor a fashion journalist for that matter. But I LOVE clothes, always have, even when I was little. And more than that I really LOVE people ~ I also adore learning about them (sociologist minor here).

As I listened to him, as I watched him talk about his beautiful clothes, I was struck by his spirit. He was warm, engaging, friendly and not an air of hautiness?? He too loved what he was doing. He talked to everyone. He smiled at everyone.

This warm, happy man, the seventh child who grew up helping out in his father’s Malaysian grocery store, was humble. Toi was grateful to his family, his clients and his fortune.

When I asked him what inspired him, he
said simply; beauty.

So eloquently, in his heavily accented English, he said it is his place in life to make women feel beautiful. To make beautiful clothes for women so they feel good.

Simply, he said; “We aren’t curing cancer, we aren’t saving lives as designers, but I see it as my place to make women feel beautiful.”

Yet, he recently raised over $600,000 for breast cancer research with his clothing.

A man whose elegance, whose humble belief is that it is his “place” in this world just to make women feel beautiful, also finds a way to help eradicate a disease that makes women feel ugly.

What could be more beautiful than that?

As I walked away from my interview, I questioned my “place” in life. “What is it that makes me happy? What joy do I share with others that brings them happiness?”

My lunch with my new “Tribe” mom, Preethy Kalbara, closed the loop on that question.

Originally we met to discuss collaboration on a book she wants to write, but the conversation turned more to a “life coach” counseling session.

As we talked, we discussed the challenges of being EMUS – Educated Moms in Urban Society (EMUS) – MY made up acronym for moms who are educated, and are blessed to not HAVE to work, but want to do something more, to give back to our communities, but struggle with how to manage it AND be a good mom to our kids. Moms who struggle to find our place.

She made me laugh, she gave me killer quotes, inspirational ideas and she asked me a tough question: do I really want to write?

I actually thought about it before I answered her, which surprised me.

I do. I most definitely do.

BUT not how I’ve been doing it lately. I want to do something different, more. Simply, I want to LOVE writing and I want to make people happy when they read my writing. I want to show them something they haven’t seen or thought of before. I want to SHOW THEM beauty.

K – that wasn’t SO simple, but I think you get the picture: I want to make people happier, even if it is for just a moment in their day.

So I write this as much for you dear reader as for me, the anxious, insecure, disorganized writer. I write this hoping I am starting a new chapter.

I also hope I put a smile on your face and thank you for reading.