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Lauren Cardarelli

Sarah Thomas Shatters NFL Glass Ceiling (We Can’t Wait to Cheer Her On!)

Written on August 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by

Look how fierce! Imagine making a call against one of those guys? Standing next them is scary enough… (Photo courtesy of the AP/The Advocate, Eliot Kamenitz)

Sarah Thomas is about to tackle some major gender barriers, evening one of America’s biggest playing fields—football. The 39-year-old Brandon, Mississippi resident and mother of three is set to make history as the first permanent female ref hopeful in the NFL this upcoming season. You go, girl!

Discovered by a scout after working her way up from peewee to college-level (she was the first female to officiate an NCAA game in 2007), Thomas is currently one of the 21 official finalists in the NFL’s higher-level training pool. Oh, and did we mention she has a full-time job in pharmaceutical sales? Plus a 7-month-old? No big deal.

The mentally demanding career is not all about snap judgments or pros/fans not approving your calls (insert obnoxious booing and trash talk here)—it’s also physical! Referees have to be fit so they can keep up with the players, plus agile enough to get out of a quick running back’s (or scary linebacker’s!) way. Not a problem for Thomas. According to The New York Times, she was the first athlete at her high school to letter five times in a sport (softball) and went onto the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship.

Confidence is another one of Thomas’ strong (striped) suits, according to the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino. Being a woman doesn’t make her any less qualified or capable to officiate in her eyes. “I don’t feel that it’s been harder for me because I’m a female,” she told ABC News. The only time she ever felt out of place? When she sported her uniform during her pregnancy. “The spouses of my crew made me a maternity referee shirt,” Thomas told The Times in 2009.

Thomas did not set out to break a glass ceiling; she just followed her love of the game. And for that, we applaud Thomas and wish her nothing but the best of luck. Talk about girl power if she makes the cut! As she told Bloomberg last month, “If you’re doing things because you love them, then things have a tendency to just kind of fall into place.”

Now you tell us: What are your thoughts on Sarah Thomas becoming the first female NFL referee?

Jennie Garth Sees Good in New Charity Campaign

Written on July 19, 2013 at 11:04 am , by

Jennie’s latest project, ahem, behind writing a new book and television show? Promoting vision wellness in children. (Photo courtesy of Michael Murphree)

Jennie Garth is the definition of a supermom: She’s a mother of three and manages to juggle her career as an actress and director with family time. And don’t think a swamped schedule ever stands in this gal’s way of a good sweat—it’s obviously not a problem! The 40-year-old, notoriously known for her role as Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, has been flaunting a slim bod this summer and (holy teeny bikini) she’s never looked better. Sneaking in jogs and maintaining a healthy cuisine regime is key, Jennie told us this week when we chatted about her new passion project, Eye Saw Good. Read on to find out how you can donate and help kids’ eye care without ever whipping out your checkbook—plus Jennie’s must-do move for those six-pack abs!

What inspired you to connect with Alcon and Eye Saw Good?

I have three girls. Two of them are in glasses already and one of them wants glasses! It was startling to me to find out that one in four kids in America need vision correction and they don’t have access to it. So this is an opportunity for me to bring awareness to a campaign called Eye Saw Good. It’s a really interactive, fun way for everybody out there to get involved and feel good about something that they’re doing: Just take photos of something you consider to be good and positive and share them on Twitter with #eyesawgood. The hashtag triggers a donation to Kids Vision for Life, an organization that provides kids in need with glasses, eye care and exams. It’s a cool, sort of artistic, way for people to be a part of something. They just have to share their pictures; they don’t have to share their money!

Staying fit as a busy, working mom must be tough. How do you make time to keep up with fitness and a balanced diet?

It’s definitely challenging—I’ve been traveling so much lately. I do what I can wherever I am. I love running outside or just fast walking. All you need are sneakers! That’s how I do it—just mindful eating and continuing to stay active.

OK, spill. What’s your bikini body secret? Your abs are fab!

I like this ab move: Hold something behind your head (we suggest a weight, ball or your buddy’s ankles) and lift your legs up and down, like a straight pike. Just keep your abs tight the whole time! My other favorite is a handstand. Against a tree, a wall, or a person. It comes from yoga—I used to do yoga but haven’t been lately because I just can’t commit to a class schedule. It is one of my favorite yoga moves because it’s an arm wonder, too.

Snap a photo of something good—it’s as easy as that! (Photo courtesy of Michael Murphree)

You rocked Dancing with the Stars a few seasons back. Do you still dance?

I don’t! I recently danced at a wedding and it was clear that I lost all my moves. I need a dancing partner; that’s my problem. Those are hard to find.

Best pump-up song on your workout playlist?

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Macklemore, and Dubstep is something that keeps me going. It’s funny to think that I’m running up the canyon listening to Dubstep!

What’s a healthy dish you whip up for a family dinner?

I’ve converted my kids to brown rice now, which I think is a great start if they’re going to eat a complex carb or starch. We drink a lot of coconut water at our house, and for oils, we love light olive or coconut oil.

Want to get involved with Jennie’s project? Do good with what you see. Simply “donate” a dollar by uploading your picture on Instagram or Twitter with #eyesawgood and help make a difference in children’s vision services, provided by Alcon’s The EyeSolution program and the Kids Vision for Life charity. Curious about what else Jennie has in the works? Be on the lookout for a forthcoming book and television show!

Stay Cool Like Reggie Bush (His Secrets to Summer Fitness!)

Written on July 10, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Oh, you know, just chilling with Reggie! Although he sported the Mesh Towel for the photograph, the pro swears by the Hoodie come game day.

Summer workouts are heating up and thanks to MISSION’s Enduracool products, cooling off is a snap—literally. Powered by Coolcore™, the patented technology is activated by moisture, perspiration and quick, whip movement to create an invigorating sensation so you can beat the heat during your workout, not throw in the towel. We put their Instant Cooling Arm Sleeves to the test recently with Detroit Lions running back (and recent daddy) Reggie Bush. Let’s just say burpees weren’t so bad with Reggie leading the pack! The fluorescent sleeves were refreshing from wrist to upper bicep. Bonus: they protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays if you’re taking your workout outdoors. Can’t beat that, runners! Here’s what we learned about the 2005 Heisman hunk after our mixed martial arts sesh—his fave off-the-field routine. And guess what? Reggie’s favorite body part on his bride-to-be is not what you’d think.

Favorite pump-up workout song before a big game?
“I Can Feel It,” Phil Collins.

Personal mantra to get you through a tough workout?
Hard work pays off.

Your pre-workout snack?
I usually workout in the morning, so usually something breakfast-y. Either fruit, bacon and eggs, cereal, something like that.

Your favorite female body part?
Wow, um…I mean, I’m going to think about, obviously, my fiancé. My favorite body part on her are her lips.

How do you keep in tip-top shape, besides football?
I like switching it up. I love doing fighting workouts. Training can get boring. It can get repetitive, so I think it’s cool to switch it up, to do a different type of sport, a different element. For one, you get to learn how to fight, you get to learn to defend yourself; it gives you an appreciation for what fighters and boxers go through. It keeps your mind, I think, interested in working out. You’re doing things you like to do and never realizing you’re getting a hard workout in, so you’re enjoying it. You should enjoy the workout. Obviously, the burn hurts, that part doesn’t feel good!

To get your hands on MISSION Athletecare’s cooling products for your next workout pop into a Dick’s Sporting Goods or Hibbett Sporting Goods near you.

All-American, Bikini-Friendly Spirits (4 Cocktails for the Fourth!)

Written on July 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm , by

The Fourth of July is full of fireworks, food, friends and patriotic festivities—all best accompanied by a cold alcoholic beverage in hand, right? That’s if we can drink without the guilt. We want the fun frills of a cocktail, not a cheeseburger’s-worth of calories! That’s why we compiled four of our favorite recipes to sip in the sun (fingers crossed!) this Thursday and toast to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

This flavorful red, white and blue accessory pairs nicely with any patriotic ensemble. Mmm—berry refreshing and packed with antioxidants! (Photo courtesy of Milagro Tequila)

Independence Day Pucker

  • 1 lemon
  • ⅓ ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ½ ounces gin
  • 1 ⅓ ounces ZICO natural
  • ½ teaspoon sugar substitute
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Add 1 tbsp blue caracao and garnish with maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve the lemons, dip them in the sugar and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the lemon’s edges begin to take on a caramel color. Remove the lemons and allow to cool. Run the liquid from the roasting pan through a strainer. Roughly chop the lemons and strain, as well. In a separate pan heat your ZICO Natural and sugar substitute until melted and allow to cool. Combine the roasted lemon juice, orange liqueur, gin and ZICO “simple syrup” in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into martini glass.

Recipe courtesy of ZICO
Calories: 220

Berry Explosive Raspado

  • 4 ounces Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces agave nectar
  • 8 raspberries
  • 12 blueberries
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 dashes peach bitters

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Fill two glasses with crushed or shaved ice and pour over. Garnish with fresh raspberries and blueberries. 

Recipe courtesy of Milagro Tequila
Calories per serving: 250


Skinnygirl® The Firecracker

  • 2 parts Skinnygirl™ Cucumber Vodka
  • 2 parts low-sodium tomato juice
  • Splash of fresh lemon juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Sprinkle of celery salt

Mix ingredients together and pour over ice. Garnish with lime, cucumber, celery salt and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnygirl®
Calories: 134


Berry Peach Lemonade

  • 1 bottle Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
  • 1 ⅓ cups chilled, unsweetened iced tea
  • 20 blackberries or raspberries
  • 1 ⅓ cups lemonade

In a large pitcher, muddle the berries. Add remaining ingredients with ice and stir a bit to dilute and chill. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve over ice into rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wheel. Serves 15-20.

Recipe courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka
Calories per serving: 131

Now You Tell Us:  What’s your must-have (and healthy!) summer cocktail?

Really Good Read: Love Me Anyway by Tiffany Hawk

Written on June 28, 2013 at 9:20 am , by

Toss this in your beach bag and watch the hours fly by. (Photo courtesy of St. Martin’s Press)

Have you ever read a novel where you can easily envision a celeb-filled movie adaptation? You know it’s going to be a good one when your imagination jumps to film…or the likes of Leo, Brad and Channing! Whatever comes first.

Love Me Anyway, the debut novel by former flight attendant Tiffany Hawk, was one of those books. Think of a toned down Fifty Shades of Grey with steamy love affairs, funny flight anecdotes and a whole lot more adventure and possibility with each new passport stamp.

After battling turbulent, lonely (even abusive) pasts, twenty-somethings Emily—a recent divorcée from a blue-collar California town—and KC—a promiscuous party girl in search of her estranged father—seek haven in the air. Despite emotional baggage, the girls’ lives take flight as they discover the true definition of freedom in both personal and national security contexts along the way.

The quick beach read weaves an intricate tale of love, friendship, moral conviction and self-discovery. Buckle up, it’s a bumpy but thrilling ride full of scandals and an all access behind-the-scenes look at the airline industry’s emotional side. While I hope one day I’ll see Megan Hilty play the role of the bubbly blonde KC, there’s one thing I know for sure: Love Me Anyway is the perfect accompaniment for the toes-in-the-sand, (low-cal) cocktail-in-hand summer bliss.

Find Calm in the Busiest City: Summer Solstice in Times Square This Friday

Written on June 19, 2013 at 9:47 am , by

Slow down, city hustle and bustle! Focus on your breath with Tao Porchon-Lynch, Drisana Carey and more this Friday. (Photo courtesy of Athleta)

Pigeons in Times Square are nothing new, but releasing tension in your hips and glutes with pigeon pose? Well, now we’re talking. For those in the New York area, be sure to kick off your summer with Athleta’s “Mind Over Madness” Friday yoga fest in celebration of the longest day of the year. From 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., thousands of yogis of all ages and skill levels will gather for Solstice in Time Square to salute the sun for free. Om, what!? As the president of Times Square Alliance and co-founder of the event Tom Tompkins said, “Solstice is an experiment in balance: The sun standing still in the sky on the longest day of the year, and thousands of yogis standing still, and being still, in the middle of  the world’s busiest crossroad. It’s a metaphor for calming the mind amidst the madness of modern life.”

Sign up now (seriously, spots fill up fast) to end your week peacefully and restored in one of the five outdoor classes on Broadway Plazas. The first 1,200 pre-registered participants to arrive for each class will receive Athleta goodies and a chance to win giveaways in the yoga village. Good news for you non-New Yorkers, too: 40 store locations nationwide will also be commemorating, offering classes free of cost. Regardless, be sure to follow @Athleta on Instagram – and us at @FitnessMagazine -  to participate in their “Seize the Solstice” contest and tag your photos with #SeizetheSolstice and #SolsticeTSq for prize packages. We’ll be there bright and early and hope to see you, too! To grab a mat and learn more, check out the Times Square Alliance website.

The Health Initiative Close to Vanessa Williams’ Heart

Written on June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am , by

The diet tip Vanessa swears by: Don’t keep unhealthy options in your house. “You’re going to torture yourself!”

As an actress, singer, dancer, author, model and mother, Vanessa Williams puts a triple-threat to shame. No wonder she looks so darn good at 50! Since being crowned the first African American to be crowned Miss America back in 1983, Vanessa has conquered television (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and 666 Park Avenue, to name a few) and the big screen. Most recently, she returned to the Broadway stage in “The Trip to Bountiful.” But a busy life of fame and fortune doesn’t stand in Vanessa’s way for one of her biggest passion projects: spreading heart health awareness. With loved ones affected by heart disease, she turned to Bayer and WomenHeart to make a difference. We sat down with the starlet to learn more about how a simple handbag item can save lives and—of course—found out her age defying secrets. Read on for the full interview.

What inspired you to connect with Bayer aspirin in this whole initiative of the Handbags and Hearts?

I’ve been involved with heart issues for probably 10 years now. My grandmother died at 28 of a heart attack, my other grandmother died at 64 of a heart attack and so I’ve always been pretty vocal about women’s health issues—especially heart disease. They approached me about starting the campaign for Handbags and Hearts to increase the awareness of the correlation, being the number one killer for women, but also to have people—especially women—carry aspirin in their handbags, their purse, their pocketbooks. That’s important. And also to have women know that our symptoms are different than men’s. We want to drive people to the website so they can see what the symptoms are, be aware of them. Obviously if there is an issue, the first thing they need to do is call 911, but go in their bag and grab an aspirin because it’s shown that it helps to reduce further damage to the heart once a heart attack actually happens to you. It helps save lives. It’s been a fantastic partnership with WomenHeart and Bayer. Every person that pledges and every woman that goes online to pledge at the site, they’re going to donate up to $200,000.

Besides aspirin, how do you personally boost your heart health?

Cardio—I work out all the time. I mix it up, whether its treadmill at my house, or riding bikes. Recently, I’ve been doing in LA a gym called Body Theory, and there’s a class called “Drench.” You are literally drenched by the time you finish it! It’s an hour and a half of pure cardio and weights, which is fantastic and I’m obsessed with. In NY, I do at Westchester MMA a heavy bag fit class, which is everything from jumping rope to a lot of boot camp exercises. But then you tape up your hands—you do wraps—put your boxing gloves on and you fight a heavy bag, one of those big six-foot bags. You do combinations of that—kicks and punches. I like to mix it up.

So staying fit as a busy mother on four, killing it on Broadway…that must be really tough. How do you keep up with fitness and healthy food on-the-go?

You make time for it. Sometimes, you can’t. If you cant make it to the gym, try to get on a treadmill. If you cant get into the gym or to a treadmill, try walking. Try to do something for at least (for me) 45 minutes to an hour in a day, just to feel energized, and feel like my body is woken up, that I’ve felt all the endorphins, then start my day. And I like to work out in the morning—I can’t do afternoon or evening workouts. I need to do it in the morning. Get it done, start my day, feel the adrenaline. But you have to make time. Same thing with food. You have to make an effort. My biggest tip is to not have anything that I don’t want to eat in my house. It’s one thing when you know there are cookies that are calling your name and you know that every time you walk by the cupboard, they’re there and you’re battling with yourself—should I open it, should I not, should I have one…you’re going to torture yourself. So don’t have them in your house. As soon as, if I get a basket or gift bag filled with something delicious that I know I don’t want to wipe out the entire thing, I’ll bring it to the cast and say, “Put it on the green room table, enjoy!” I’ll have one and walk out of the room so I don’t have to wrestle with should I or should I not. Because food is good! It’s easy to make healthy choices, too. Living in this country, there are so many opportunities for anything, anything online, for sure. I fast, I do juice cleanses maybe three times a year. I’ve done BluePrint for probably five years. But that’s always great to kind of reboot your system, especially if you feel sluggish or a bit toxic like after holidays—you just want to clean yourself out and start fresh.

Read more

Wanderlust Yoga in the City

Written on June 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm , by

Sun salutation in the sun on Sunday? Yes, please! (Photo courtesy of Michael Malandra)

Listen up, New Yorkers! This Sunday, the world’s largest and fastest growing yoga and music platform Wunderlust will hold its annual Yoga in the City (YITC) at Chelsea Piers. Get your weekend warrior on by hitting the mat with the nation’s leading teachers and live music under the summer sun starting at 1:00 p.m. After all those down dogs, connect with fellow yogis and refuel with LYFE Kitchen (be sure to check out the good-for-you culinary demos!), LUNA and more! Plus, four lucky golden ticket winners—yes, similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—will score a four-day entrance to the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont, June 18 through 23.

“Wanderlust Yoga in the City serves as an urban escape for yogis looking to capture the essence of our 4-day festivals, in the midst of their regular routines,” said Wanderlust co-founder, Jeff Krasno. “We are thrilled to return to New York, bringing together top-of-the line talent, likeminded sponsorships and a strong, mindful community of people that make up the fabric of our brand.”

Wanderlust Yoga’s core mission is “to create community around mindful living,” a value-based approach to eating well, being green and aware of today’s challenges, as well as practicing with a purpose for a healthy life and open heart. For more information and save a spot, visit Wanderlust’s website. Namaste!

Really Good Read: “Boston Billy” Is Back in Marathon Man

Written on May 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm , by

Read this and you’ll be lacing up those sneaks faster than ever before. (Photo courtesy of St. Martin’s Press)

Long before the time of Gatorade, GU or GPS watches, Bill Rodgers set a 2:09:55 American record at the Boston Marathon. There were no clocks or traffic control for his 1975 victory and medals were awarded only to the top three runners.

“You didn’t see lots of couples or families showing up to races,” the legendary long-distance runner reminisced in his new book-meets-memoir, Marathon Man, which he co-authored with Matthew Shepatin. “I didn’t know any running couples, and to see a woman runner was shocking. Some would think: Oh, good grief, there’s a woman runner. My attitude was: Good going!”

Running as both a sport and culture has made drastic strides over the past few decades—something I rarely considered before reading the 26.2-mile journey of the infamous “Boston Billy.” The book’s chapters alternate between play-by-plays from his first big victory and life prior to the momentous moment in history, as he falls in, out and back in love with running.

The pavement-pounding passion that burns within so many of us used to be quite the enigma “for freaks and fairies,” although seemingly simpler. Perhaps that ease was just the spirit Bill conveyed despite his quick pace. With each turning page, I craved the same sweat and pain that comes with training territory, but it was Bill’s natural, liberating take and mindset—something no gadget could ever provide—that I found truly moving.

“Running wasn’t an escape from life; rather it was an embrace of it,” Bill explained. “As I bounded along the park trail, I wasn’t sailing around in chaos. I was charging forward with purpose.” For Bill, rising to the top of the running world wasn’t about the fame or a collection of tech tees (well, those didn’t even exist yet!). It was a sense of freedom he couldn’t experience anywhere else.

Road races before the late 70s running boom were nuts and bolts affairs, a morale-boosting medicine that wasn’t so much about the time, but a hunt for the win. Bill sported ensembles from dumpster dives (stiff jeans in the colder months—yikes!) and hydrated with an old shampoo bottle. He ran the same way he did as a kid catching butterflies in the fields of Connecticut, even stopping to tie his shoes with six miles to go before winning the Holy Grail of marathons.

Yes, we now know a lot more in respect to the athletic do’s and don’ts, something we here at FITNESS love to keep you all up on. But if this invaluable book taught me anything, it’s to lace up my sneaks without much of a thought and simply enjoy the ride. Who knows, maybe I’ll leave my pop playlist behind, turning to the birds and sound of my own breath to pace my stride. This book is more than a good read. It’s my new Bible. Pages are folded, quotes are highlighted and it will be a go-to gift for my fellow running pals. You learn through Bill’s mistakes, defeats and triumphs, cheering him along as if the historical race is live. I won’t be fueling up on ketchup-smeared brownies anytime soon—sorry, Bill, that’s a little much—but I will pour myself full force into what Bill often referred to as his “channel.” His perseverance sparked a fire under my tread that lead to a race-filled summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll even go for the full 26.2 soon, too.

Now you tell us: Where do you find your run-spiration?

What You Need to Eat to Be Heart-Healthy

Written on May 13, 2013 at 9:28 am , by

Boost heart health by indulging in seafood? You don’t have to tell us twice! (Photo courtesy of the National Fisheries Institute)

According to a recent statement made by the American Heart Association, heart failure costs are expected to more than double by 2030, potentially costing Americans a whopping $244 per year! Time is tickin’ to beat the rising heart disease incidence—the leading cause of death in women. Insert omega-3 fatty acids, which has proven study after study to reduce the risks. Opt for food sources of supplements, says New York University adjunct nutrition professor and FITNESS Advisory Board member Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D. It’s as easy peasy (and affordable) as cracking open a can of tuna—just two servings of seafood a week! Now isn’t that just fin-tastic?

Jazz up the versatile canned good with your favorite spices, Dr. Young suggests, and fold it into a cold pasta salad, wrap or form into burgers. Another great idea? Tasty crostinis made with thin baguette slices, fresh rosemary and Kalamata olives. No more fishing for heart health excuses. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that pairs perfectly with a glass of white for a summer soiree app. Your friends and heart will thank you later.

White Bean and Tuna Crostini
(Recipe courtesy of Melissa d’Arabian)
Makes 4 servings

  • 10 thin baguette slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup dry white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can white kidney beans, drained
  • 1 5-ounce can chunk-light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside. In a preheated skillet, cook onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the wine and simmer the mixture until the wine is reduced by half. In a food processor, purée the beans and the onion mixture and salt and pepper to taste, transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill it, covered, until it is cool. In a small bowl, toss together tuna, onion, olives, parsley, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.Spread bean puree among baguette slices and top with tuna salad. Garnish each with 1 small rosemary sprig.

For more recipe ideas and information on heart healthy fish, visit getrealaboutseafood.com.