I love summer reading. I think books give us a way to restore ourselves, and allow us to get away from all of life’s distractions. Personally, I find dedicating time to reading is often life changing. I have always learned though books and authors, and somehow when I open a book it’s always the exact message or story I needed to hear.

The books I’m recommending this summer have been so moving and inspiring to me, as I hope they will be to you. Review my picks below (just click on the hyperlinks) and see which one speaks to you. All are easy and light reads.

Is the holiday season really here, right now?! It is (YAY!!!), and with all the fun and joy of finally being able to celebrate with family and friends, come challenges to our eating habits. Since my friend Samantha DeOrio of Seek Pilates in East Boca Raton earned her certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and Cornell University in October, I naturally reached out to her for advice. Bonus, I got yummy recipes!

Samantha enthusiastically responded, “Head into this holiday season with some renewed personal habits. Aim for a low-fat diet rich in leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes, which creates healthy hearts, and prevention/treatment for type 2 diabetes as well as certain cancers.”

Samantha DeOrio

“Fall and early winter is a great time to explore fresh produce, new varieties, and what’s in season. Cooking at home is simple, eliminates inflammatory ingredients, leaves you balanced and ready to take on your day!”

Samantha advises:

  1. Eat your Beans & Greens!
    Are you getting enough?
  2. Eliminate oils in cooking and dressings!
    Have you sautéed with water or broth, or steamed your food?

Now, give these recipes a try, you’ll love them!

Delicata Squash Soup

Serves: 2

Roasted delicata squash

Dairy free and low fat! Traditional soups can be filled with milks, creams and oils. Also called a peanut squash, these gorgeous gems are thin skinned and require no peeling!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium/large Delicata Squash + salt and pepper
  • 1 cup broth or water, plus any additional seasonings
  • A blender or food processor

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Clean and dry squash, place on baking tray with parchment paper. lightly salt and pepper the squash
  3. Roast for about 15-25 min. Remove when done.
  4. Carefully cut squash into large chunks (can remove seeds or keep) and place in blender with veggie broth or water. Add desired amounts of: pumpkin spice, cinnamon, chipotle, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, tumeric, non fortified nutritional yeast, salt/ pepper. Whatever your preferences!
  5. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed.
  6. Enjoy warm, can garnish with a dash of sunflower seeds and sunflower sprouts, and share the low fat, full flavor with a loved one! To make it a full meal, add a side salad with an added grain or legume like a precooked lentil.

Delicata Squash Soup

No Oil Ginger Garlic Bok Choy

No Oil Ginger Garlic Bok Choy

Try a new green this season! We are in love with this dish! It can be made with any leafy green like, kale, Swiss chard, collards, mustard greens, Napa cabbage to name a few!

What you’ll need:

  • Head bok choy
  • 1/3 cup broth or water
  • 1-2 inches of fresh ginger root
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp red Miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper, chipotle or paprika to personal taste
  • Cooked chick peas (1 can, 1 bag steamed)

How to:

  1. Wash and chop greens into 1 inch pieces or desired size.
  2. In small pot or large sauce pan with lid, add garlic cloves, ginger root and broth. Let simmer on medium about 1 minute.
  3. Add in greens, and spices and honey. Store to coat. Can add more liquid if needed.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low, 5-7 min.
  5. Enjoy warm, add in cooked chick peas. Yum!

Visit the Seek Pilates social media channels and website and let Samantha know how you liked the recipes, and how you are maintaining your healthy routines!
Website: www.SeekPilates.com
Instagram: @seekpilates_eastboca
Facebook: @SeekPilatesEastBoca

I was listening to Dear Gabby, and when she said this, I thought, “YES! Just show up for what’s up!” This has been my experience the last few years.

I believe that our inner work is right in front of us, but we often get distracted by life and don’t always make time for what truly matters.

I know for so many years I was focusing on so many different things. I was trying to achieve so many goals instead of looking right in front of me. In my last teacher training, I was feeling this ROCK inside of me, but I didn’t want to go there! I was trying to shield myself, but I knew something was about to shift! Instead of just sitting down and talking about the uncomfortable things in my life, I just avoided looking at what was showing up for me.

I know the work we have to do is hard, and I really never like to go there! But this is the work that has saved me in my life.

In my twenties, I hit rock bottom. I was very successful in my career, but my personal life was a mess. I never wanted to look in front of me. Luckily, I had the greatest therapist in the world who guiding me to where I am today. It was the hardest work I had to do on myself, but if it wasn’t for my therapist, my 12 Step meetings and my sponsor, I wouldn’t be here today.

If you have something uncomfortable that you know you need to deal with, please give it your attention. It may be hard, but it’s SO worth it in the end. Because, YOU MATTER.

I’ve intended to host an online book club for quite some time, and I’m SO glad I finally did it! We began with Gabrielle Bernstein’s Super Attractor on Sunday, November 29th, and all I can say is why did I wait so long?!

I chose Super Attractor as the first book because every time I post something from it or about it on social media, I receive so many messages asking questions.

As expected, the questions and “ah-ha” moments flowed abundantly during the first three club meetings!

As for the timing, I’ve learned that meeting on Sunday evenings allows us to spiritually align ourselves at the beginning of a new week. When working in the corporate world, I remember being SO overwhelmed just thinking about the week ahead. Club member Christina DeLuca affirmed this timing by emailing, “It is so refreshing to settle in on a Sunday evening and begin the week with discussing a positive and uplifting book with a great group of people. It’s inspiring to hear everyone’s perspective on how they use the Super Attractor lessons in their daily lives or to enhance the lives of others.”

It is always so beautiful when we come together as a community, and to learn and grow from and with each other, even if it’s online.

“I’m so grateful to be part of Mary Ann’s “Super Attractor” Book Club! This is life changing and came at a time when I needed it most. It felt amazing to be supported while interacting with others. Mary Ann highlights the tools we need to help us live a life filled with Joy,” said Linda Rosen.

The fourth and final Super Attractor book club meeting will be on December 20th, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Reading the book is not necessary to join in! All that is required is that you pre-register by emailing me, and come as you are! You will receive the Zoom link via email 5-10 minutes before starting.

I will be announcing the next Book Club dates and book selection soon, follow me on Instagram or Facebook to be in the loop!

If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE fan of Gabby Bernstein. And because of her, I’m now fan-girling over author Rha Goddess since she introduced me to Rha during Gabby’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass. (I even got to meet her in March when she was here for a Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life workshop! Thank you Barb Schmidt and Michelle Maros!)

If you don’t know about Rha, I’m here to fix that!

Gabby and Rha recently got together for an Instagram video session, and it was AMAZING! I believe Rha’s words and wisdom are so important for us all, and especially now. Please take time to listen to their conversation, and let me know what you think! (Note: the video opens with an impromptu “Dear Gabby” session, and then Rha comes on at the 5:30 mark.)

Rha Goddess is the CEO of Move The Crowd, and author of The Calling: 3 Fundamental Shifts to Stay True, Get Paid, and Do Good.

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Step 1

Begin by creating a quiet space, and scheduling a regular time to practice. The simplest way to integrate meditation into your schedule is after your Yoga practice, with breath work and Savasana, and then sit up in a comfortable seat for meditation.

Step 2

Take a moment to check-in with where you are. Ask yourself, “What is my motivation for today? Why do I want to bring more of into my life?” Whatever your answers are, make them your intention.

Step 3

Train your mind to focus. Stay with one single thing for an extended period. For a seated meditation, either close your eyes or hold them slightly open. This attention will allow you to begin to see and not get caught up in the habits and patterns of the mind.

Step 4

It’s okay if you experience a flood of thoughts. When thoughts arise, invite your mind to return to your technique as an anchor for you.

Step 5

Once you begin to sit in meditation, you begin to notice how busy your mind is with so many open tabs and you will learn to develop mindfulness and awareness without judgement!

Step 6

It takes time to develop a new habit. Be patient with yourself. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of quiet, and build up to 30 to 45 minutes. Use a timer so you don’t have to watch the clock.

Practice along with me and Louis Scriven III at our Friday Fitness Happy Hour! It’s a 58-minute Vinyasa Flow and Pilates Fusion, on location at Zenergy Boca Raton and presented by Raw Juce.


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Vinyasa Flow and Pilates Fusion

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Our bodies are sacred, and the way we move in and out is so important. May this 30-minute Vinyasa yoga flow bring you exactly what you need. And always remember, you have your center. As always, my thanks to the beautiful souls at IntensityX3 Fitness & Kickboxing for the opportunity to share my practice with their clients and followers!

Huge thanks to The Maui Spa & Wellness Center for having me on their Instagram Spotlight Series today! I promise that in less than 20 minutes, you’ll feel soooo much better. Check out @themauispaboca on Instagram, or visit their website at themauispa.com. Namaste.



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