Friday, March 28, 2014

Fitness vs. Fashion

In a previous blog post I briefly touched on what seems to be a growing trend of exercise elitism. This week it reared its ugly head again in the form of a piece called "BS Meter" in Self magazine. The magazine ran a picture of two women running the L.A. marathon wearing super hero shirts and tutus. One of the women was battling brain cancer and going through chemo, yet still managed to RUN A MARATHON! But Self didn't take the time to research that. The magazine did ask the runner, Monika Allen, for permission to print the photo. Allen (pictured on the right in the photo below) didn't ask the magazine in what context the photo would be used, but she assumed it would be positive. That makes sense since it is a women's health and fitness magazine; two women running a marathon seems like something the magazine would feature in a positive light. Not the case:

To make matters worse, the tutus are for a good cause. Allen is the co-founder of Glam Runner, an organization that sells these tutus to raise money for Girls on the Run - an organization that teaches young girls the importance of health, self confidence, diversity and compassion through running.

Self's editor-in-chief Lucy Danzinger has apologized for what she calls a "stupid mistake." She told USA Today, "I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error." Yes, it was! But even if Monika had not been through cancer, I feel like this piece would have still been an error. A health and fitness magazine should be ashamed for categorizing running a marathon as "lame" no matter what the attire!

I'll be the first to say I'm not really a fan of tutus, except on babies and ballet dancers. I wouldn't wear one, and I definitely would not run in one. I've seen many people running races in tutus and have often questioned how they do it, but I have never judged them for it. To each his own! I prefer to run in the least amount of annoying material possible, but if you can run 26.2 miles in tulle, more power to you! And even more power to Monika Allen, who is beating cancer, raising money and inspiring plenty of others in the process.

But the thing is, it's not just tutus. There's a perception among some that you need to exercise in over-priced, trendy work out attire, especially made by a certain company (that I will not mention here.) Or that only super-grueling, or super-expensive, workouts are legitimate. Let's stop making exercise exclusive. Instead let's start celebrating and embracing everyone's efforts to improve their health and fitness. So throw on that old t-shirt, get out there and do it. I'll be proud of you!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Five V

 1. PINCHme

 On, you can try samples of new products for FREE!

2. National Puppy Day!
Is there anything cuter than puppies? No, no there is not.  If you search this "holiday," some websites say it's today, others Saturday, and some Sunday. Kathie Lee and Hoda say it's Sunday, and since they're my faves, I'm going to go with that. But if you're like me and you would rather celebrate adorable fluff balls every day, then you should follow @BabyAnimalPics on Twitter!

3. Destination Half Marathons
I'm already scouting locations for my next half marathon. Check out this this list from Runner's World for some of the best places to run a half marathon!

 4. Ice Podz

Photo courtesy
Speaking of running, I can't wait to try this product! I tend to get overheated while running, especially in this steamy Florida climate. Here's the description from the company's website: 
"ICEpodz are Personal Core-Body Coolers that are anatomically designed to impact critical circulatory pathways, maximizing cooling and optimizing personal performance, in any hot environment." 
Best part, the company is based in Sarasota! 

5. Creative Tea Recipes 

This is super low-tech; I took a photo of a page in Women's Health magazine, so you may have to squint to see these recipes. I love how they all use tea, but they're each so different and look delicious. Since it's Friday, I think the alcoholic one sounds the best! Hey, tea is full of antioxidants, so have two :)

Check out Analisa's faves here!

March Madness

The first day of the NCAA basketball tournament is one of my favorite days of the entire year. I LOVE March Madness. Every year, I research the heck out of dozens of basketball analysts' predictions while making my bracket. I am the two-time reigning champion of the ABC 7 morning show bracket. (I tied last year for first place, but that still counts!)  We don't even do the pool for money, only bragging rights, but for some reason I still go crazy over it. Maybe because I get to not-so-subtly remind the whole crew on air about my victory. I now anchor evenings, but morning show alums are allowed in the pool, so I'm back for a three peat!

I've always loved the tourney, but I think I really started to get into it when Texas A&M went to the Sweet Sixteen. Then a few years later, I worked for a CBS station, so everyone in the newsroom got really excited about the games. Several other reporters and I would all meet up for lunch on the first day of the tournament at a restaurant with lots of TVs and watch basketball.

As much as I love sports, I can't get all that worked up about games unless one of my teams is playing or I have something at stake. A bracket format in which one bad pick can create a ripple effect of disaster for your chances of winning the pool, makes for some pretty high stakes. I think that's what makes the tournament so intriguing and often more exciting than a playoff system. I may or may not have screamed at my computer at work while watching the live stream of a couple of games. My producer and director called it "cute." Maybe, it's just madness.

May your picks be ever in your favor...unless you're in my pool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

13 Thoughts After 13.1

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon #2!

1. I did it, again! When I do something I've never done before, such as run 13.1 miles for the first time, I sometimes think it may have been a fluke or a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This race proves that untrue. I really can do this! 

2. This half was harder than the first. I feel like it should have been just the opposite, but for some reason, it was tougher this time around. I'm assuming that was because of a combination of factors. It was warmer this year, working a night schedule I'm not used to waking up at 5 a.m. and running at 7 a.m., and because of that, I didn't sleep well the night before. Last year when I was working mornings, I had plenty of time in the afternoons to do my training runs; this year all of training had to be done before work. That meant some days my runs had to be cut a little short for time purposes. Also, I lacked that rush of adrenaline that comes with running a certain race or distance for the first time.

3. I ran this half a few minutes slower than my first. I think most of the above factors affected my time as well. I'm not a very fast runner, so time is not my top priority. But I am competitive with myself, so I would have at least liked to have tied my previous time. 

4. I should have included more strength training in my program. Last year, I did way too much in addition to my running training plan. I was still going to my spin classes, lifting classes and cardio classes. Most of my rest days weren't really restful, and my back was a wreck because of it. I have a torn disc, and I wasn't careful enough. This year, I had a very busy few months with work, events and other obligations, so I had very little time for strength training. My legs felt a little weaker during training and the race, so next time I'm going to make strength exercises a priority. 

5. I need to better strategize my bathroom breaks. The race was sold out this year, so it was packed! The lines for the port-o-potties were really, really long before the race, so I decided to wait to go until I was on the course. I hedged my bets that stopping at the first set of port-o-potties was the best choice. My thought was more people would need to go as the race went on, so the lines could be longer later on. I don't think that was really the case, and I lost a good seven minutes or so waiting in line! 

6. Having your own cheering section, no matter how small, is awesome! After working late, Max got up early to be there at the finish line. He also had a brunch to emcee that morning, but he made sure to be there to take some photos and cheer me on. Knowing someone is waiting a the finish line gives you even more of a reason to get there. 

7. Buying a second iPod Shuffle was definitely worth it. I run with my iPhone in an armband during training runs, but it's a little restrictive and not all that comfortable. I prefer the Shuffle. Last year I thought I had calculated correctly that my Shuffle battery would last through the whole race - wrong! Either that, or it wasn't charged fully. I had to run a few miles of the race without music. Doable, but awful. This year I wasn't taking any chances; I ran with two iPods. I didn't love spending an extra $46, but you can't put a price on the power of music to get you through the pain. 

8. Prayer helps, so does doing The Dougie. Speaking of the power of music, the final two songs that came on my iPod at the end of the race were Josh Groban's version of "Ave Maria" and "Teach me How to Dougie." Interesting combination. The last few miles were getting extremely tough. It was divine intervention in the strangest way. I prayed my way through "Ave Maria" and then did a modified Dougie as I was running. I caught a few spectators smiling and laughing (in a good way...I think). The last mile was fun and that's all that matters!

9. How do people run a race without sweating?! I was completely drenched, and I looked around at the post-race party to see people who looked like they had barely sweat at all. I don't get it. 

10. Beer before 10 a.m. tastes pretty darn good after 13.1 miles. Thank you, Michelob Ultra beer garden!

11. No matter how time consuming the training, how tough the race, and how sore my body is, two minutes after the race, I was ready to do it all over again! I won't be able to run the Sarasota Half next year because of my wedding/honeymoon. Not a bad reason to have to miss it! But I've already looked up several halfs in other areas. 

12. I'm considering 26.2. Key word considering! I used to say I was never interested in running a full marathon, but of course after these races, that has changed. I am definitely not even close to ready yet, but the goal is out there. I knew it was time to truly consider it when Max said to me the day after this half, "Now you have to do the full." He is not a fan of running and doesn't exactly understand why I do it, so if he thought I should go for 26.2 miles, then maybe I should :)

13. Celebrate YOUR accomplishments. There's a lot of what you might call fitness snobbery or exercise elitism out there. Women's Health Magazine ran a story about it in a recent issue. It's truly worth a full blog post in the future, because I find it so discouraging. With ultrarunning and Ironmans, a half marathon can seem like not much at all...if you let it. I champion anyone striving to reach fitness goals or just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Whether it's your first 5K or your 20th marathon, it's worthy of celebration! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Five IV

1. An odd, rapid-fire, 73 questions in five minutes Vogue interview with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Photo courtesy

I LOVE this list. I want just about everything on it.

Photo courtesy

3. Yopa! Vanilla with Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt.
I never thought I would blog about yogurt, but this stuff is so freakin' delicious. It's good enough to be dessert! 

4. Matthew McConaughey explains the origin of "alright, alright, alright." 

5. Trashy TV

I am a little ashamed of myself for including these shows, more so "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" than OWN's docu-series, "Lindsay." 
Yes, the rich "kids" are spoiled, a little annoying and spend ridiculous amounts of money. But I find them much more likeable and relate-able than most of the "Real Housewives." And as long as you watch it for enjoyment over envy, I think it's pretty harmless.
As troubled as Lindsay Lohan is, I still like her. Since this show is done in more of a documentary format, it seems much more realistic than most "reality" TV.

Check out Analisa's Friday Five!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"The Bachelor" Abomination

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them."  
-Maya Angelou

I'm not trying to get deep here while blogging about "The Bachelor," because that would be a little oxymoronic, but the above Maya Angelou quote is the first thing I thought of when reflecting on the finale.
As awful as I think Juan Pablo is, in his defense, he never really tried to convince anyone on the show he is anything other than a self-absorbed, commitment-phobic, shallow, player.  He never really showed much kind emotion with his words or his actions, other than making out with Clare a lot...but that's actually hormones, not emotion. To me, he didn't even attempt to make himself appear like he cared about these women deeply; he basically let his true colors show and they are pretty damn ugly. 

My ill feelings toward Juan Pablo have nothing to do with the fact he didn't propose. I'm a practical and realistic person and don't believe you can be ready to marry someone after a few weeks of altered reality on a television show. If I found him to be a stand-up guy, I would actually commend him for respecting the sanctity of marriage enough to wait to propose until he knew he had found the right person (sans St. Lucia and fantasy suites) to make that commitment. Instead I found his actions to be another way to avoid commitment and continue to be a jerk. It's not like he stood up there and gushed to Nikki about how amazing she is and how much he can't wait for them to spend time together and develop their relationship off-camera. Nope, all he said was "You look really pretty." The EXACT same thing he had just said to Clare when she walked up. And, "I like you, a lot." I like a lot of people, a lot. I want to marry them about as much as Juan Pablo wants to marry Nikki.  

Another jerk move was when he told Nikki he had a ring in his pocket. Pathetically enough, Nikki's eyes lit up with a glimmer of excitement that he was about to propose. Nope, he was just teasing her with enough "I kinda thought about proposing enough to go get a free ring provided by ABC" hope to keep stringing her along.

As evidenced by "After the Final Rose," he is STILL stringing Nikki along. I think the most jaw-dropping moment happened when Chris Harrison asked her if Juan Pablo loves her and she responded, "Ummm, I'm not sure. I think so." I'm not an advocate of anyone rushing into anything, but the show ended months ago, he's had ample time to tell Nikki he loves her. In my experience, men who truly love women want to tell them! 

I'm not a dating expert. I've had plenty of bad relationships and made many mistakes, but one thing I know for sure (I stole that line from Oprah. O Magazine readers know what I'm talking about.) is that you should never marry or commit to someone long term who is not head-over-heels in love (not lust) with you. Why would you settle for anything less? 

Unless Juan Pablo is secretly the most wonderful man on earth, Nikki is selling herself incredibly short. She's desperately clinging to a less-than-she deserves man and relationship. You should never have to sit around wondering if the person you're with loves you when you've expressed that you love him!  She is either delusional, in denial or has no self-respect.

Juan Pablo claimed to Chris Harrison he wanted to keep his relationship with Nikki private. I sure hope, but really doubt, he's a much more interesting, mature and loving person off-camera.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Five III

I love natural gemstones and not necessarily the precious variety. The more natural, the better. I find them beautiful just to look at, but on jewelry, all the better. I randomly came across the jewelry designer, Elizabeth Schricker, of Oia Jules, and I am shocked by how reasonable her prices are for handmade jewelry. I will be purchasing a piece, or several, because how can I choose? They are all lovely.

 As I've said before on this blog, I am beauty product junkie. Call me crazy, but I lust after outrageously-priced face creams instead of Louboutins. (I'm not a shoe girl; again, call me crazy.) An Allure reporter investigates if these products really are worth their weight in gold.

3. Saucony Run 4 Good App

I forgot to include this in my running essentials post, so I'm sharing it here. This free app tracks how far you're running, while calculating your pace and estimating how many calories you're burning. Best part: Every mile you log goes toward donations to several non-profits that support healthy kid initiatives.

4. "Otherhood" by Melanie Notkin

The author of this book was on "KLG and Hoda" this week, and it spurred a really interesting conversation. It's a topic I've thought about a lot over the years, and I think it's becoming more and more relevant.

5. After a long hiatus, "Revenge" is back this Sunday night! I cannot wait!

Check out Analisa's Friday Five here!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A pig, Jimmy Kimmel and my 15 seconds of fame

Every broadcast journalist dreams of making it onto network television; no broadcast journalist dreams of making it onto network television with a pig superimposed on her face.

But that's exactly what happened to me on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Tuesday night. My station, ABC 7 in Sarasota, and I received Kimmel's Excellence in Reporting award, which, of course, is awarded to not-so-excellent journalism.  On our 11 p.m. newscast Monday, an over-the-shoulder graphic of a pig's face with the words "PIGS RUNNING WILD" mistakenly ended up right on top of my face while I was anchoring. I held back laughter as I read the rest of the story. Our crew was disheartened by the blooper, but one of our co-workers Facebook messaged us a screen grab photo and we got a pretty good laugh out of it. My director remarked he was glad it was sent in a private message instead of posted publicly for people to laugh at my/our expense. That was going to be the end of it. Until...just as I was about to leave the station and go home for the night, I said to my director, "You know what, I think I'm going to post it on Facebook. I think we could use a laugh; people will probably get a kick out of it." He chuckled and said to feel free to tag him in the post.

So I did; I also tweeted it...and the likes and comments started to pour in. Again, I thought that was going to be the end of it, until... our digital managing editor posted the video clip on YouTube. Then that started getting shared all over Facebook. And once again, I thought that was going to be the end of the prolific pig post, until...our engineer came running out into the newsroom after the 11 p.m. newscast on Tuesday night saying, "You're about to be on Kimmel!" 

It was definitely not my network news reporting debut, but it was something! It was fun and a reminder about the power of social media. I've long been a Jimmy Kimmel fan, so hearing him say my name on his show was probably coolest thing about the whole experience.

Check out my cameo here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dot com-ination!

You have now logged onto, instead of!

Last week I embarked naively on what I thought would be a quick journey to give this blog a custom domain name. etcverythingthatcounts is long enough without the blogspot, so I set out to shorten it with its own dot com domain. I thought I would just head over to, purchase, go to Blogger, type it into the "Add a custom domain" section and voila!

Boy, was I wrong. The domain purchasing part was easy, and cheap, thanks to a sale on GoDaddy (Who knew domain names went on sale?) and a coupon code I found on Finally that Emmy Award-winning investigative sweeps piece I did several years ago on internet coupon codes paid off! At the suggestion of my producer, I also bought He pointed out that in the EXTREMELY PROBABLE case that I become super famous, someone could buy that domain name and I would have to pay bukoos of money to get it back. He explained that this happened to Justin Beiber, and in light of recent events, I thought it wise to avoid falling into any similar circumstances as The Biebs.

Redirecting my blog to its new domain name was a two-hour test in patience and critical thinking skills, and I learned a new web language in the process. To veteran website builders, this is child's play, but to me, since I'm technologically-challenged, it was quite an achievement. I learned about DNS, CNAMEs, A-records, I typed in something that looks like this: and this: 23zekrazojsv.

The entire experience was a reminder to branch out, to not give up on things that seem foreign at first, to try new ventures and do things to expand the mind. So often in our jobs and daily lives we do the same tasks over and over. According to Harvard Medical School getting mental stimulation is one of the top 12 ways to keep your brain young. "Doctors suspect that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells." Are you going to doubt Harvard? Didn't think so. And if you prefer dumbells to domain names, number two on the list is physical exercise. I just have to remind myself I'm sharpening my mind as I slog through my six-mile run tomorrow!