Reflections, Changes and New Beginnings

This time last year was a game changer for my husband and I. We were scheduled to go in for an ultrasound to confirm the viability of the little fetus I had growing in my belly. We had not shared the news with many of our friends or family–we were nervous to say the least. I had dealt with a blighted ovum earlier in the year and required a small surgery to remove it. That day, we heard the little flutters that would be my daughter, E’s, heartbeat. I wish I could say I cried and got emotional, etc. But I didn’t, I just smiled and got even more anxious. It would be another 4 weeks until I saw that she was okay again. Each trimester led to more anxiety–Google is not a great friend when you are pregnant. However, that was the time that I learned to let go of the things that I could not control. I reminded myself each day that I had to have faith and change the way I approached my life. It is my job to do as much as I can and leave the rest to God.

With that change I learned that I did not like wasting my time. My time was ultimately precious and I wanted to spend it with those that I love or doing something that I loved (including relaxing). I learned that I wanted to surround myself with positivity because the road ahead as a mother was going to be a difficult one that I would have to learn to embrace. During all of this, my friend Hagar started a journey with a company called Rodan + Fields. I remember my husband encouraged to not think of what she was trying to sell as something “stupid” or even what she did was bothering people. If she had something she truly believed in, she should embrace it and not worry about any one else. Since then she has convinced me to join her, even though I have my own day time job.

The past two weeks I have been fighting myself, thinking too hard, and freaking out a little as to why I made this decision. But tonight as I watch E sleep next to me while I type this, I remember. It was that little heartbeat, that didn’t make me emotional but rather, more determined. Reflecting now, I see what changed in me, I was determined to give my little bean a better life, to give them everything I could and this opportunity working with Rodan + Fields has given me some of that flexibility. The road will not be an easy one, it requires a lot of work, but I am up for it. And I think I will be great at it, but not for my sake but to deal with the ebb and flow of life for my little sweet pea. Join me on this journey and find your freedom!

New Year Resolutions

Typically we all wait till the end of the year starts to gear up and we look at what we hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. This year I am going to try something new, I’m setting goals from now. If you are my friend on Facebook, you may have learned that I started doing some independent work with Rodan + Fields ( A great friend of mine, Hagar Abdel-Baky, had been doing this for a year and convinced me to start. I not only believe in the science behind these products, I have seen them work for me.

I also just agreed to doing a 21 day fix with a Facebook friend, Jessica Bodin, through Beachbody. Before having Essmah (my daughter) I managed to train for a half-marathon and lose a whopping 40 pounds!

I was at my heaviest in 2006 right before I got married.

I was at my heaviest in 2011 right before I got married.

This was right before I ran my half marathon. I trained for 6 months and managed to lose all the weight!

This was right before I ran my half marathon. I trained for 6 months and managed to lose all the weight!

I haven’t gained it all back, but a good bit of it and I want to get myself back. Working out, eating right and being healthy was my biggest accomplishment in the past few years and I want to set a great example for my daughter. It is a lifestyle, not a quick fix and I need to give myself a kick starter.

Main line is…we don’t have to wait till the new year to get things rolling, we choose our goals, we choose our timelines and we choose how and when we are going to accomplish them. The first time I ran a half marathon, it was because I had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a year before and I promised myself I would run a half marathon. To be completely honest, I never imagined that I would actually do it. But things fell into place the way they should have to allow me to accomplish it and I am so thankful to God for that. And I am still so grateful to all the people that donated to the cause that I ran for, The V Foundation ( for Cancer Research, I could not have done it without them!

So whatever your goal is, no matter how far away it may seem or scary the journey looks, “Don’t give up…. Don’t ever give up!” -Jimmy V

Blueberries, Cinnamon and Happiness

I love fruits in dessert. I am not a huge fan of tons of chocolate (don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate) but only because I feel that I get a headache from all the sugar. There are important people in my life who wholly disagree because they believe that fruits do not belong in baked goods because then it adds a “healthy” factor to them, but oh well, can’t understand everyone’s logic =). So when mom asked me to make a dessert for family that was coming over to break their fast I was going to make a plain yellow cake until I came up with this idea. It is an adaptation from Annie’s Eats ( cinnamon pull apart bread. Originally what I was going to do was just include some kind of fruit sauce to pour on top but then I got an even better idea–make small cinnamon rolls with fruit baked into them and a fruit syrup drizzled on top. Great, no?

So I set off on this journey when I got home from work and right after I put everything in the bowl to start mixing, I got an important phone call from one of my best friends that I chose to take out in the garage, in the heat. It was a great call, then I went back inside and the yeast started to do it’s work before mixing it! Anyways, thinking I messed up everything, I mixed it and let it rise. In the meantime I found a recipe for blueberry sauce, can you imagine it literally only took 10 minutes to make?! I was AMAZED–had I known this a long time ago, I would have been making sauces for EVERYTHING! And then I cut up strawberries in small tiny pieces to roll into the dough when it was finished rising.

Once the dough was completely done with rising, I broke it into two pieces and set the other one aside. I have to say the dough was so easy to roll out, it took just a couple of tries with my rolling in and it was completely ironed out on my work surface. It smelled great, it rolled great, and boy was I excited.

Overall, the experience was a great one, my cousin ate like 10 and everyone else ate some. And most of all, I got a great review from my toughest critics, my parents! Especially…my dad–he said they were phenomenal and that was enough for me.


Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread (

For the dough:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add melted butter and the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix until tacky and in one cohesive ball–you can add flour in the process. Knead for about 3-5 minutes and then transfer to an oiled bowl. Roll once in the bowl to ensure coverage and let it rise for an hour covered in a warm spot.

Blueberry Sauce:

2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water

Heat water, blueberries, and orange juice in a medium saucepan on medium heat until boiling. In the meantime, mix 1 tbsp at a time of cornstarch, with a fork, in the cold water until it is all dissolved. When the blueberries are boiling, add the sugar and stir until it is all dissolved. At that point add in the cornstarch mixture a little at a time and continue to stir. Once it is all added, keep stirring and lower the heat. Voila! All done :)