I am always seeing posts from other fitness friends on Facebook telling me to never miss a Monday. Well today I am happy to be taking a break from the burpees, pull-ups, planks and spider crawls. DON’T get me wrong, I love all of these things (UH, KINDA LOL) but when you work your tail off for 60 plus days, it’s nice to skip a damn Monday for once.

Apparently  there is something to taking a good solid week of from your routine according to this post from bodybuilding.com.   So, never skip a Monday is a great idea to keep you motivated and more likely to stick with a program, just be careful not to push the needle in the other direction. Stay on track, but know when to take a break. You can jump back in NEXT MONDAY. But do it, don’t use that as an excuse to start 20 Mondays from now.



I don’t expect all my friends and family to make this switch like my wife and I did, but when I hear podcasts like Rich Roll’s latest, I want to share with everyone I know. As I was listening last night on the way home from work, I could not wait to stop and send a link to my mom and my brother. If there was a way to prevent or reduce the need for medications for the rest of your life, would you look into what changes you could make to make that happen? Prevent memory loss, vision loss, diabetes and heart disease? I think it’s worth looking into, even if you don’t follow a strict plant based diet, it’s worth adding a bunch of meals into your diet that are.

Please take a listen to this podcast at RichRoll.com  on iTunes or download here  and let me know what your thoughts are.

What challenges would you face making a lifestyle change?  What would you do with an extra decade (or more) of being sharp and able bodied? 

A few years ago we started Geocaching, and that has brought us to places we would not have typically seen.  Some are local and easy to find, while others involve traveling, hiking and searching.  Next came Pokemon Go!  It is a very polarizing game…you either love it or think it is stupid.  Well, we have been playing and found ourselves hooked.  We happen to live in a very walk-able neighborhood with a lot of stops and lures.  But, to get a wider variety of Pokemon we have to travel.  After searching online I found that Savin Rock in West Haven, CT is a hot spot for Pokemon-ers.


A paved boardwalk spans 2 miles along the waterfront.  There are memorials, benches and bocce courts.  We walked the boardwalk and stopped to have lunch at Jimmies.  Jimmies has a pretty standard American Fare menu with tons of inside and outside seating.  After lunch we worked our way down the boardwalk, picking up Pokè-stops and Pokèmon.  The tide was going out and we wandered out on the beach.  There were shells, snail and crabs everywhere.  You could even walk out to a rock island that can’t be reached at high tide.

Savin Rock Low tidesPokemon go Walk on water





Crab at low tide

So whether you are looking for a great place to take a walk, sit and watch the waves, watch people, collect shells or hunt for Pokemon, Savin Rock is a great place to go. So glad that we found out about it and we will go back. Just Please, remember to be respectful and clean up after yourselves!


Today is a great day to get closer to your fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, tone, sculpt or just have fun?  Check out all of these great deals!!


When you order make sure to use this link —>  TeamBeachbody.com/gpmonkey

By using that link, I become your personal coach!

  • Country Heat and Shakeology Challenge Pack: $140 USD (regularly $160)
  • Country Heat Kickstart and Shakeology Challenge Pack: $180 USD (regularly $205)
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I know that is a lot of information so, if you have questions or need help you can email me gpmonkey@beachbodycoach.com . Let me know what your fitness goal is and we can find a program that will get you there!

I received an email from author, Robin Raven, asking if I could review her newest book, Santa’s First Vegan Christmas.  Of course!  So, she sent me a copy to read and review.  Santa’s First Vegan Christmas is a fun and colorful tale of Dana the reindeer and how she influenced Santa.  The book has a nice rhythm and is fun to read.    It is full of compassion and cuteness.  I like a book that can talk about compassion without having to shock and scare children.  This book is not at all about Santa eating vegan, although, that could be his second Christmas.  A sequel that includes recipes???  Anyways, this book would make a great gift for anyone and a thoughtful gift for your vegan friends.  The world is changing and this book is proof.

Santa's First Vegan Christmas

You can find Santa’s First Vegan Christmas on Amazon, Hardcover for $13.61 and Kindle version for $8.49.  Check out all the great reviews!

“This year, experience the holidays with a story of love, peace, and compassion! Meet Dana, a forthright and fun-loving reindeer who lives in the Arctic. On Christmas Eve, she meets Santa Claus, who has come looking for reindeer to pull his sleigh. Dana gently opens Santa s eyes to how we can be more kind to animals. Together they take off on a journey around the world, spreading far more than holiday cheer and giving far more than presents. By the time the sun rises on Christmas Day, things will never be the same!”

About the Author

Author and actress Robin Raven grew up in Saraland, Alabama. She holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and is now furthering her education. Robin blogs at RobinRaven.com and loves to connect with readers on social media. She often has her feet on a dance floor or her nose in a book, and delicious vegan food rocks her world.
I am looking forward to hearing more from Robin Raven.





In Early May, I had just finished week 4 of my new favorite Tony Horton program, 22 Minute Hardcorps. It’s a great routine that goes by in a flash!  The last couple of days I was stopping to pause over and over with labored breathing. My left ankle began to swollen but, I pushed through another day and decided to go get checked out.   My doctor looked at my ankle and figured I had tendonitis and told me to stop working out. Ugh! I was half way through a routine I was committed to, but I knew I had to listen.  Soon after, both ankles were swollen,  it was hard to get into regular shoes, and impossible to get into rock climbing shoes. They looked awful and I was embarrassed to let them be seen.  My hands began to hurt, palms would swell, joints hurt, pushups and pull-ups soon became impossible, something had to be done.  My doctor sent me in for leg ultrasounds, a cat scan, a pet scan and a lot of blood work. 

My doctor soon realized that I needed to go see an oncologist since he suspected I had something going on with my lymphatic system. I did not really know what an oncologist did, but he wanted to rule out cancer! My symptoms were getting pretty hard to deal with, I was getting drowsy, and just did not feel myself… so I was ready to accept any news and move on.

After several tests showing nothing but some swelling behind the lungs, I was scheduled for a biopsy. No big deal right?  Wrong, it was one of those surgical biopsies that a thoracic surgeon has to perform since the lymph nodes are in a tricky spot.  This time they were concerned I may have a form of lymphoma!  That got my attention. The week leading up to the procedure was an uneasy one, but again, I was ready to deal with any news that came my way.

Procedure day came, they prepped me for surgery, before I knew it, my eyes popped open in the hallway being wheeled to recovery.  The surgeon told my wife they did NOT see signs of lymphoma and that I most likely had a condition called sarcoidosis.   This was later confirmed by my oncologist and he no longer needed to see me!  That was a relief to say the least.  He sent me to a pulmonary doctor, and they are treating the lingering symptoms properly.  The best thing is that this doctor cleared me to start working out again!  So today, I started week 6 after taking 2 plus months off from intense exercise. I was actually excited to lay out my workout clothes last night!  I had a blast working out this morning. I kept up with most of the moves, and still feel great as a write this.IMG_0400

What did I learn from all of this?  That I am extremely lucky to have lived such a healthy and fulfilling life so far. When things seem to threaten that, It’s a real wake up call. BUT It’s also another chance to appreciate the things that are great in your life, and put in perspective the aspects of life that seemed so difficult. I know it’s hard to do that at times, and when the threat fades, so does the gung-ho attitude to some degree, but you won’t forget. Sometimes a little scare is all that’s needed to learn to shift your focus.







We are always talking about taking care of our bodies.  Eat Right!  Exercise! Drink Enough Water!  But, what about our brain, the central control system of our body.  The brain needs some attention too.  That is where guided meditation comes in to play.    I recently came across an app, Headspace, and it has been a game changer.

mindfullness meditation

What Is Guided Mediation and Why Should I Try It?

Guided meditation is the process of meditating in a group or individually with directions from an individual, a video or audio file.  It can be tough to find the time and place to meditate and maybe you are unsure of what to do.  In comes, guided meditation.  There are many options,  I have found Headspace  to be user friendly and easy to get started.

I am not a sponsor or in any way affiliated with Headspace.  This is based on my personal experience.

When someone mentioned meditation, I would get overwhelmed.  I pictured myself needing the perfect quiet spot with cushions and incense where I could sit for hours, contemplating the meaning of life.  In reality I need just 10 minutes and can do this most anywhere.

Mindfulness is being used in schools, business and everyday life.  The world moves at such a fast pace but we call can give ourselves 10 minutes a day to sit and meditate or reflect or prepare for the day.  Tony Robbins calls it priming.


There are so many resources for meditation.  Get out there and find the one that works for you.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.







One reason I love living in New England is the changing seasons. The weather changes, our outfits change and our moods too. Some changes we see coming and others take us by surprise. As I am driving my son to school for the last few days of his elementary education, David Bowie keeps coming to mind. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Change is scary and exciting and at times overwhelming. But, when you build your “tribe” of supportive people, change is manageable. Your tribe can include friends, family, coworkers, and online connections. For me, change often brings on self doubt and anxiety. I sit and think of all of my faults and all the ways that something can go wrong. Then I turn to my people to lift me up and remind me of my strengths. What is great about being part of a tribe is that we all get our turn to ask for help and we all get to give. It is a beautiful thing!
What is the biggest change you made? Who helped you get through it?

21dayjuneThis video from Autumn from 21 Day fix explains a little about her routines (which happen to be on sale this month). Her workouts are not easy, but they are very doable. Each of her moves has a modifier. Even though I am a Beachbody Coach, I still have to use modified moves from time to time. The important part is sticking with a program, not getting hung up if you are doing everything perfectly! We have a challenge group starting soon, contact us for details!

Have a great day! — Spence



vegan cookbook

I love it when BenBella sends me new cookbooks to review.   This week the mailman brought me a copy of Dining at the Ravens – Over 150 Nourishing Vegan Recipes from the Stanford Inn by the Sea.  The authors Jeff and Joan Stanford filled this book with  beautiful photographs and Dining at The Ravens features more than 150 delicious vegan recipes and shares the charming history of the Inn and restaurant, cooking tips for perfect recipe execution, and even inspiration for creating your own garden.

vegan cookbook

The Ravens Restaurant is located on the Mendocino coast at Stanford Inn by the Sea, the only vegan resort in the United States.  Jeff and Joan Stanford have been running Stanford Inn by the sea since 1980.  This cookbook is the product of over 30 years of gardening, cooking and entertaining.

Discover one of the restaurant’s most popular breakfast dishes, Citrus Polenta with Braised Garden Greens and a Creamy Toasted Cashew Sauce, and many others, such as:

  • Ravens Sea Palm Strudel
  • Indian-Spiced Polenta Napoleon
  • Mushroom Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Burger
  • Ravens Spicy Peanut Curry Sea Palm
  • Sweet Summer Corn Bisque
  • Peach Huckleberry Cobbler

And here is a recipe excerpt for


vegan chilaqiles



6 organic corn tortillas, cut into ½-inch strips

Organic oil spray

Salt to taste

2 cups Ravens Enchilada Sauce (page 98)

¼ cup shredded Ravens Vegan

Cashew Cheese (page 259)


1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds firm tofu, crumbled

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon turmeric

2 teaspoons black pepper

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup unsweetened soymilk

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups spinach

2 cups Mexican Rice, warmed (page 268)

2 cups “Refried” Pinto Beans, warmed (page 269)

1 cup Salsa Cruda (page 87)

For the Enchilada Sauce-Coated Tortilla Strips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly spray tortilla strips with oil and sprinkle with a small amount of salt.

3. Arrange strips in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until golden, about 10 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven, and toss in bowl with Ravens Enchilada Sauce.

5. Place mixture in a 9 x 9-inch heatproof dish.

6. Warm cashew cheese and sprinkle on top of chip and enchilada sauce mixture.

7. Place chips in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until warm.

For the Mexican-Spiced Tofu Scramble and Assembly

1. In a medium pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft.

2. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, salt, turmeric, pepper, chili powder, cumin, soymilk, and lemon juice, and cook for 5–10 minutes, until flavors have blended and the tofu has cooked a bit. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as desired.

3. For a crisped tofu scramble, spread the mixture on a baking sheet and heat under the broiler, or in an oven at 500 degrees for 3 minutes.

4. Place spiced tofu mixture and spinach in a saute pan and heat over medium heat, tossing until spinach is wilted.

5. For each serving, place ½ cup of Mexican Rice, ½ cup of “Refried” Pinto Beans, 1 cup of enchilada sauce–coated tortilla strips, and ½ cup of tofu and spinach scramble mixture on a plate. Serve with side of Salsa Cruda.

Note: The Mexican-spiced tofu can also stand on its own or be served with rancheros or burritos, mixed with braised vegetables, or, as our staff prefers, mixed with fresh, sautéed jalapenos.

Such amazing recipes that are perfect for a quiet night in or for entertaining some guests.

You can find Dining at the Ravens online, in store and is available for Kindles.  Go ahead, get yours now!!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.


Where is your favorite dish that you would travel for?