Squats, dead lifts and lots o’core!

What an sweet morning so far!  I spent the night at my older sister’s home so I could sleep over with her 3 amazing children!  I woke them up at 6:00am this morning so I could scoot them on the bus and off to school.  (yes…I fed them…lol)  I love hanging with them!  I call them my little crazies 😉    I also get a little teary eyed when they get on the bus…I think it’s because I was out in California for 6 years and missed them like crazy.  I am soooo happy to be back home in Cleveland  😀  I know I talk a lot about loving Cleveland, its just that it has so much to offer.  A lot of the time when I was out west people would say to me, “Oh…Cleveland.”  I would tell them that unless you’ve been there with someone who is from there, then you don’t know what you are missing.  Between the parks, museums, theatre district, pretty much all major sports teams (sorry soccer fans), lake front, different unique neighborhoods and the westside market, etc.  there is NO shortage of fun and great things to do!

Okay, enough about my love of my town 🙂

About 2 minutes after I woke up I felt it…. the crazy good hurt that could only come from squats and lunges.  DUDE…!!!  I took my younger sister’s older daughter on a walk yesterday afternoon and as I was pushing her along in her Little Tykes car, I decided to make this sloooow moving opportunity into a fitness one!  So I did a bunch of lunges!  I am SURE I looked like a total weirdo but who cares?!  I got my leg workout on!  Later in the evening I did about 20 squats as I was waiting for some pictures to download from my phone to my computer.  Like this one I took yesterday.  I was driving “along in my automobile…bum bum bum di bum…” lol and I came across this field!  So beautiful!

Field of sunflowers :D
Field of sunflowers 😀

The rest of my day looks will consist of the gym, studying and maybe a little bit of relocation hunting!  I am also going to devise a training session for my friend who is coming over tomorrow morning for her (and my) first personal training “in-training” session.  Today at the gym I am going to focus on my core and upper body.  I’m going to try some new moves that I hope will target muscle groups that tend to get left behind.  Not really muscle groups…  The other day my friend Jeff and I were at CRG (Cleveland Rock Gym) climbing for the first time in months.  We were sore for the next 3-4 days.  My gym doesn’t have a climbing wall so I am going to try and simulate some climbing moves at the regular gym.

Climbing uses the every single muscle in your body!  And I mean in ways you never thought possible and in ways you’ll most likely never obtain at the gym.  Just ask my friend Jeff who is a gym rat and he’ll tell just how totally sore he was for several days post climbing!

Well I am off for now!  Catch ya later!


“Give what  you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Waking up on the last warm day of autumn..

What’s going on everyone?!  Today was nothing short of AWESOME!  I woke up this morning to a warm breeze flowing through my windows…how awesome is that for late October?!  I also had an easy breezy morning that started off with a great cup of coffee.  Have any of you tried Starbucks Via?  I love those little packets!  I ran out of ground coffee and haven’t been to the market in a couple of weeks so I resorted to the little packets I had in my cupboard.  I usually take them backpacking with me, as regular instant coffee is just plain gross!

Image from www.graphics.com
Image from http://www.graphics.com

They also offer instant lattes but I am not a fan of those.  While I was enjoying my cafe I was catching up with one of my very best friends, Allison.  We’ve been friends for quite sometime now but it seems the older we get the busier we are and the harder it is to get together in person and catch up!  So this morning we caught up over her morning drive to work and me having coffee on my back porch 😀  I hopped on the treadmill post awesome coffee conversation and started running.  I know a lot of people get bored on the treadmill.  For me, I get that runners’ high anywhere, anytime I’m running.  I just zone out and keep going until my body says, “Um dude, we’re done.”  I started out at a 8:57/mile pace.  Not too bad after working 6 days straight.  I never put the emergency clip on me but for some reason I did today.  Big mistake!  Right in the middle of my run it pulled off from the consul and my treadmill came to a sudden STOP!  I hate when that happens!  I guess it is a good thing it did because when I looked at the clock I saw that I was going to be late for a meeting at work if I didn’t get my butt in gear!  So I “freshened” up (tried to be less smelly) and drove to the hospital for meeting.  Then it was more coffee with one of my other very best friends Patty!

Odd angle I know!  Friends for 22 years!
Odd angle I know! Friends for 22 years!

I am in the middle of studying for my NASM personal training certification.  As I was studying I thought to myself,  “I need to practice these things with a real person and not just online.”  Guess what?!!!  I have my first client!  Of course she isn’t a real client because I am not certified yet.  Also, she is one of my very best friends!  It is like massage therapy students.  They can’t charge you full price because they aren’t certified but they need the practice and the hours!  So instead of charging my friend money, I get to practice on her and she is paying me with what????  COFFEE!!!!  On the days we train she offered to buy my soy lattes!  And it is PSL (pumpkin spice latte) season!!!! YUM!

Image from www.coachsara.com
Image from http://www.coachsara.com

Continue reading “Waking up on the last warm day of autumn..”

Backpacking Spruce Knob, new faces and the funniest and longest conversation I’ve had in a long time!

Good morning on this crisp autumn day!

I hope you had an amazing week. 🙂  I tried to post from the road via my iphone but I just couldn’t make it work.  I am new to the blogging world so I KNOW it will take me a bit to figure it all out!!!

So let’s talk backpacking!  I had the most AMAZING weekend!  I left Friday morning and drove to a meetup spot to carpool with a few people and let me tell you…hahaha…it was nice being a passenger!  I usually drive every trip but this time at the last minute I hopped on the El Cap train to West Virginia.  El Cap (his trail name) is the founder of our group.  Being able to sit back and enjoy the scenery and take a mini cat nap or two was GREAT!  So thanks El Cap for doing ALL the driving!

For those of you who don’t know what a trail name is, it is a name that you earn from other backpackers after being on the trail for a bit.  Sometimes you earn a name right away and sometimes it takes a good while.  I do not have one yet…when I do one I hope it fits me perfectly.  Like…Awesome Sauce?!  J/K

Moving on…I met a ton of new people this weekend!  I loved seeing all the new faces out there in the wilderness experiencing Momma Nature in a way they never have before.

Everyone did extremely well considering the almost 35 degree temperature change we experienced Friday- Sunday!

The Hopeless Wanderers!
The Hopeless Wanderers!

It started out about 65 degrees on Friday when we arrived at the Spruce Knob trail head and by the time we climbed back up the side of the mountain on Sunday to where our cars were, it was 29 degrees and WINDY!  My fingers were frozen while I was trying to unzip my pack to get dry clean clothes out.  Brrrrr….

Iceman enyone?!!!
Iceman enyone?!!!

The drive on the way down was so beautiful with all the autumn colors on display.  What I didn’t realize is that as we were traveling south, the trees became far less colorful.  When we were hiking, a lot of the trees were already bare.  None the less it was a site to be seen with all the elevation changes.

A meadow on our hike down on Friday.
A meadow on our hike down on Friday.

Friday we hiked about 6 miles until we arrived at our campsite and hunkered down for the night.  On our way to camp we passed Seneca Falls.  I didn’t get an actual picture of the main falls be here are some little ones.


My pack is waaaay old!  I like to purchase 2 big pieces of gear each season and a new pack will be one of those pieces!  But this pack has been all over the country with me and it has held up like a charm.  It is a Mountainsmith and I bought it at a discount about 10-12 years ago and at sporting goods store called Dunhams.  The other large ticket item will be a new sleeping bag.  I have an old Moonstone that a friend gave me about a 1,000 years ago.  They don’t make Moonstone anymore…LOL.  Funny story… we were trekking part of the AT (Appalachian Trail) back in July and I decided to by a warmer weather sleeping bag once I got down there.  I was SO excited to find one for $45.00!  It was a junior size(hence the low price), meaning it SHOULD be long enough for a person 5’3″ and under.  Well… I am 5’1.5″ and it is about 1.5 inches too short!!!  So now I own and oldie but warm heavy sleeping bag and one that is just a tad to short.  Oy!

I went to bed SUPER early on Friday and didn’t stay up to chat.  I was uuuber tired.  On Saturday we had breakfast and packed up camp so we could soak up more scenery.  🙂  Saturday’s weather was not as nice as Friday’s and the temp dropped about 10-15 degrees.   We encountered a little bit of rain.  Not enough to soak you, but a constant mist if you will.  A friend and I became separated from the main group because we stayed back to help two “newbies” (I say that with love!), who had a hard time making it up the hill.  It took us about 2 hours to get up the giant hill!  I was joking around and said, “Donner, party of four your table is ready.”  LOL…Then we caught up with three more people from the group and it became Donner party of seven!  Hahaha.. Just kidding!  We had a fearless leader for our little group and we decided to take a little shortcut to camp because a few newbies weren’t holding up too well in the chilly rain.  After what seems like a long time, the other half of the group made it to camp and we all settled into another night of good food, good conversation and a great campfire!  A friend and I ended up staying up until about 4:30am talking and laughing our butts off!  Again, I apologize to people who tented around us for my friends loud laughing and snorting. 🙂  And I am talking about the kind of laughing where you almost pee your pants and (not me :)), start snorting you are laughing so hard.  We covered everything from A-Z…literally..hahaha!  We played the alphabet game, “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing an apple.  I’m going on a trip and I’m bring an apple, a big balloon…etc.”  It was seriously one of the best nights of conversation I have had in quite some time.  I will admit though it made the hike up the side of the mountain the following morning a bit rough but I hauled my tushy up that sucker so I could get warm and dry!

We always stop at a local joint on our way back to Cleveland and this time we stopped at Harper’s.  Harper’s has a fantastic view of Seneca Rocks.  They also serve a great local IPA!

Seneca Rocks!
Seneca Rocks!
Our post hike pic :D

Here are some stats courtesy of my friend Rob from the group, “Here are some bragging rights… Spruce Knob is the highest point in the state of West Virginia at 4863 feet in elevation. The elevation at our Saturday evening campsite at Seneca Creek was 3390 feet. The elevation change (excluding the ups and downs) amounts to 1473 feet which exceeds the height of the Empire State Building (including the antenna spire) which is 1454 feet tall.”  Thanks Rob for calculating all of that!

Alas we took one last picture and said our goodbyes until the next time we see each other on the trail 😀

Post hike pic :D
Post hike pic 😀 (Rob’s photo)

Thanks everyone for a great weekend!


“Give what you have, to someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Balance and my dharma


What a week it has been!  I put in way too many hours at work this past week.  I basically woke up, went to work, came home, slept and then repeated it all again for 7 days.  Which totally explains my state of pure exhaustion today.  For the most part work was really good,  I love my co-workers and my work keeps me consistently busy but it was an emotional work week.  I work in healthcare and I am normally very good at detaching once I leave for the day but this week was a little different for some reason. I came home a couple of nights last week and cried and cried.  It is so hard to know and accept that no matter what you do and how hard you try that you can’t help/save everyone.  Sometimes you feel as though you don’t even make a small dent in the situation.  Sometimes I lose my emotional balance…

 Highliner Guy Ruyssevelt.  Image from  www.dailymail.co.uk
Highliner Guy Ruyssevelt. Image from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Here is where the honest part of this blog comes in…. like I said it will not always be sunshine and butterflies.   I struggle with where I am at right now in my healthcare career.  What direction I want to take it in.  I feel that if I am not able to impact everyone, then maybe it is not the role I am supposed to be in. The “all or nothing” trap!  I know I want to take a different path then the one I am currently on.  I am very good in the role I am in and there is an endless road for advancement.  However, I have been in this role for so long now that I am pretty sure I want to see the other side.  The prevention not invention side of things.  I was having a conversation with someone the other day and they said to me, “Why can’t they just invent something for it?”  I responded, “It’s not about invention, it’s about prevention.”  That is when I had kind of an “Aha” moment.  I am always preaching to my family these words of wisdom.

My amazing older sister said to me once, “What the hell are you doing? Start doing what you are passionate about!”    But how??????  (The last time I did that I ended up in the E.R. with a CT, spinal tap and concussion!  Whitewater rafting guide school anyone?!  I don’t regret it for a minute!!)  Deepak Chopra says we should concentrate on finding our dharma.  Well I started this blog for one, and two, I am studying for my NASM test to be a personal trainer.  So those are two things right?!

Roads are not often paved smoothly and they are often long, winding and have TONS of detours.  I have road tripped across this country several times mostly without a destination.  The best places I have EVER been are because of detours, side roads of curiosity and the occasional bossy state trooper…LOL.  (I could do a whole post related to that one!..haha!)  My other amazing sister, my little sister, bought me a beautiful necklace years ago that is engraved on back with a quote from Beverly Sills, “There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.”  The front of the necklace is a compass.  So appropriate for me 😉

quote2  quote1

Everyday that goes by I am become a happier and happier human.  I am constantly learning and growing and I also develop more and more confidence in my abilities.  This blog is my road tripping buddy 🙂

With that it is currently 73 degrees in Cleveland so I am off to the park!


“Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Question:  What is your passion?  Your dharma?

Backpacking, coffee and conversations!

What’s up everyone?!  I am writing today from one of my favorite cafes on the westside of Cleveland, Erie Island Coffee Company.

Best coffee on the westside!
Best coffee on the westside!

There aren’t too many independent coffee shops (or cafes as I mostly call them) on the westside anymore.  It really bummed out my friends and I when a cafe called Caribou Coffee closed down about a year and a half ago.  Caribou Coffee was a great coffee shop that was only found in the midwest and northeast. (not exactly local but regional?)  They had the coziest cabin like feel complete with fireplaces!  I miss Caribou tremendously and their Ho Ho White Mint Mocha that I’d always get at Christmas time!!!  So now when I am out and about in Rocky River I always stop at Erie Island for some great black coffee.  I rarely order a foo foo coffee and don’t like cream or sugar in my cup of joe!  I seriously have a deep affinity for the coffee beans 😀  I swear I should roast my own beans but hey…  I want to take a roasting class just to learn about the different types of beans and the whole process of making a great cup of coffee.  When I lived in San Francisco there were great coffee shops everywhere!  One of my favorites was Blue Bottle.  I’m salivating right now just thinking of their coffee.  😛   Philz Coffee is another great one out there.  At Philz you can choose from a couple of dozen different types of coffee and they single cup brew it for you right on the spot!  It is heavenly.  I would kill for a coffee shop like Philz here in the Cleveland area.  (Westside please!?..haha)

Anyways I want to change the subject for a minute!  I NEVER thought that I could have so much to say on a blog.  I’m sitting here thinking, “Where do I start?”  There are so many things that I want to talk about and get information back on.  My brain is running wild with all sorts of topics.  I get inspired daily when I am at work.  I meet all sorts of people and have great conversations with them.  I also belong to an amazing backpacking group filled with all sorts of characters with crazy stories..The Hopeless Wanderers!

The Hopeless Wanderers!
The Hopeless Wanderers!

Speaking of those characters I am heading out on a fall backing backing trip to Monongahela National Forest in wild and wonderful West Virginia!  I can’t wait to get lost in the woods, cook my meals over a campfire and wake up to a beautiful view outside my tent!  I love being outside, as I have said before, and I jump at the chance to go backpacking whenever I can!  The autumn colors are going to be radiant!

My view atop Mt. Rogers in Virginia...bliss
My view atop Mt. Rogers in Virginia…bliss

I desperately need new hiking shoes, however I am going to try to get one more hike out of my current pair of Moab Mid Waterproof Merrells.  They are a great day hiking shoe but not the best for a multi-day trip.  I also need a new pack.  I bought mine years ago before they made them gender specific.  I am shorty McShortesen and my current pack takes up half my body!  It is a great Mountainsmith pack that has totally stood the test of time.  I have used this pack for over 10 years and it has been all across the country with me.  I will absolutely keep it as a keepsake!  Maybe build a shrine to it…LOL! Just kidding 😉  I’m not a total gear head as it is exspensive!  My dream is to be a field tester for outdoor gear companies.  I not a pro, but hey Jane Goodall wasn’t a pro when she ventured to Africa!

On that note I have to go “get lost” in my favorite park before I head over to my sister’s house for some twin time and of course some “E” time!!! (“E” is my 22 month niece)  My sister and her family are home now and busy nesting with their now family of 5!  Oh my stars…how life grows in love everyday!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Questions for you…

Do you camp or backpack?

If so what are your favorite spots?

Messages and more stairs ;)

Ciao tutti!  (Hello everyone!)

I want to start today’s post about messages.  Not voicemail, email or text messages but messages that come to us in totally unexpected ways that answer the tough questions we may be contemplating.   So over the past several days I have been seriously contemplating putting something off because I feel that I want to take my career in a different direction.  I’ve been thinking a ton about it and while I was at work I felt as if my question was answered.  I don’t know if I like the answer but I’m just going to roll with it. 😀


I was sitting with someone who needed an ear to listen and a calm presence (that’d be me!) to soothe their mind.  In talking with this person and with no poking or prodding from them I feel that my answer came in loud and clear.  Now I had just met this person and they had absolutely no idea what has been on my mind. BUT… it was as if they did!   Now do you believe in coincidence?  I don’t really….hmmmmm….just more to contemplate now!

In other news…!   I work really long hours and when I’m at work I need to find a way to de-stress and get some exercise in.   I try to find a quiet room to sit in to meditate for 10-15 minutes or maybe do a few quick yoga poses.  But when I need to get my heart rate pumping I turn to the stairs!!!  I know you may be thinking I have a weird fascination for stairs but I don’t!  I promise.  But stairs are everywhere and they work your lower body extremely well. We aren’t suppose to have our phones on us at work but I sneak mine to play for my mini workout.  I take the elevator down to the basement, throw on some B.O.B., Jay-Z or Katy Perry and then climb 11 flights back up to the floor I work on.  I do that a couple of times a day at work.  If you ever feel sluggish at work and need to get your blood going stairs are the answer my friends!  Plus it releases enough endorphins to get you through the rest of your work day!

Now I’m off to bed after a 15 hour day!  Glad I got to spend my evening talking to you 😀

Tell me though… Do you believe in signs?


“Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfelllow

Spas, parks and babies = relaxation and love

Holy awesome Sunday Batman!

Great morning to all you out there!  I am excited to share my Sunday with you so let’s go!  🙂

Yesterday morning I made the decision to start this blog.  I was inspired by an awesome blogger Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers at www.pbfingers.com.  Her blog always puts me in a better mood with her tales from everyday life.  Plus her and her husband have a crazy cute dog named Sadie that she frequents in her blog.  So thanks Julie for being awesome at what you do!

Secondly, nothing in the world makes me happier than to be outside.  But first I went inside…to the hot tub and sauna.  Hmmmm….relaxation.  The place that I work at has an amazing gym that offers everything you’d ever want to do.  I kept telling myself that I should soothe my sore muscles with a soak in the hot tub and a session in the sauna.  My little piece of advice….maaaybe just do one or the other.   😉   I am not capable of being in a hot tub too long for two reasons… 1.  boredom and 2. They can be too hot!  And going from the hot tub to the sauna was tooo much even with the 24 ounces of water I had on hand to stay hydrated.  😦   Normally I can stay in the sauna for a good 30 minutes but today I lasted 3 minutes and got the heck out of there.

Now for the great outdoors!  I went on a hike/jog today with my friend Chris.  The weather was sunny and crisp and the leaves are changing rapidly here in Northern Ohio.  There are these huge set of stairs by the nature center at one of the many local Cleveland Metroparks.  I usually do 10-15 climbs 2-3 times a week.  It hurts but it’s a good hurt I promise!

Around 134 stairs.  Kind of looks like a giant bug coming your way!
Around 134 stairs. Kind of looks like a giant bug coming your way!
Golden leaves :)
Golden leaves 🙂

I basically grew up in these parks and could hike them everyday and never tire of them because there seems to be new trails that I rediscover every so often.  In fact my friend Chris goes here a lot too and I showed him a trail that he’s never been on.  I lived in Southern and Northern California for about 6 years and I really missed the Cleveland Metroparks even though I had access to all the GREAT parks in California.  I missed the big shades trees, watching the sun filter through the canopy, getting rained on by the morning dew that falls from the leaves while I am out running.   I heart Cleveland!!!  So after an amazing hike/jog in the park with a good friend I headed back indoors to….

My niece and nephew...TWINS...so much love!
My niece and nephew…TWINS…so much love!

The TWO newest additions to my plethora of nieces and nephews.  I now have nine of them!  No shortage of kids in this family which means no shortage of love!  My amazing sister and her sweet husband welcomed these two little beautiful humans into the world on 10/3/14.  They are the cutest little buggers and I could not resist holding them for hours on end today 😀  My mom and I were there Sunday while my sister rested and took a nap and her husband spent some quality one on one time with their other adorable child, a  22 month old daughter.  I am a newborn natural.  I nannied in California for a while and newborns were my specialty.  When I have a newborn in my arms it seems as if bombs could drop all around me and I would still be in a complete state of bliss.

What a fun, amazing, beautiful and happy Sunday!  I hope you are all having a great start to your week!

Feel free to comment below and share your happy weekend stories with me!  I’d love to hear them 😀

Live well,


“Give what  you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello from Ohio

 Good morning everyone!

Welcome to A Happier Human!  I just want to post a quick HELLO to everyone out there!  This blog will be dedicated to anything and everything that hopefully makes the world full of happier humans based on a simple, clean, active and honest life.  I came about creating this blog with a desire to spread some love and happiness.    

  • Simple:  Taking a good amount of time to disconnect from electronics, being present in the moment and eating simple    foods.
  • Clean:     You won’t find anything on this blog that you couldn’t share with your entire family.
  • Active:    Being active = a happier human.  Plain and simple.  Whether you are in the gym, running on a beautiful autumn day or trying a new activity for the first time, being active is key to being happier human.
  • Honest:    My intention is to be completely honest with you all about everything that I cover.  Since we are human, we   make mistakes and have bad days.  I am not a Pollyanna but come close most of the time.  Whoop Whoop!!

So today I leave you with one of the things that makes me a happier human.  I love to drive to the lake first thing in the morning to watch the beautiful sunrise over Cleveland.  It brings me peace and happiness.  Plus the ducks at this beach are so friendly and great body surfers! ;D

Live Well,


“Give what  you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow