Monthly Archives of: January 2012


Naked in Laguna Beach


Naked–thought that might grab your attention.  I’m using the term loosely here.  I don’t mean necessarily stripping down to my birthday suit (well almost on a few occasions.)  I’ve been in Laguna for 29 days now and have tried to experience as much of it as I can,  mostly naked.   Packing in the best restaurants, the healthiest fare, the coolest boutiques.  I’ve tried to eat as “naked” as I can while I’ve been here, avoiding anything cooked for two meals a day and eating foods with the least amount of ingredients (other than fresh.)  I’ve also tried to consume more vegetables than ever before.  It’s been easy.  Hey, this town is set up for diet success for sure!

The Stand, on Thalia Street, has been my breakfast every day.  I stop in on my walk home from the gym and grab their vegetable mixture drink.  You can mix it how you want.  I’ve been doing Celery, Cucumber, Chard, Parsley, Spinach, Lemon and sometimes a slice of Apple.  It is absolutely amazing–no need to cook!  The Stand is a totally vegan place and has an incredible menu!  Try a soup as well!  Right now I’m having a bit of their split-pea soup, it’s to die for as well as their Lentil Soup! My nine-year-old son agrees (even though I had to force the pea soup down his throat at first bite, but then he loved it!)

I’ve eaten out 26 nights because my husband refuses to let me cook.  He said I didn’t come here to cook dinner, lol, I guess he’s right.  Every single night I’ve either had seared tuna or tuna tartare.  I never thought I’d ever say this but, “I’m almost sick of tuna!!!!!”   Tuna tartare is a “naked” dish.  It’s diced up raw Ahi tuna mixed with different things, usually a little sesame oil, papaya or pineapple, sometimes tomato and red onion, and usually topped with Avocado or guacamole.  I’ve probably had it over 200 ways in my life.  I am a true connoisseur of this dish!  The Lumberyard serves it up the best with 230 Forest a close second (they add crab in theirs.)

I’ve been to, which is located on Glenneyre, where I actually do get naked!  It’s a one-stop shop for anything you need really to feel healthy.  I’ve gone to Tiffani for a few colonics, she’s super cool and doesn’t make it seem weird at all that she’s having a conversation with you about paddle boarding while she’s injecting loads of water up your, well, pipeline.   If you want something out of the ordinary for your massage, David’s your guy.  He uses a Western (rhythmic patting) meets Eastern massage technique  (tons of warm oil, yay) to leave you feeling like you don’t have a care in the world.  He greeted me barefoot, with a hug, and wearing all black and sporting harem-ish pants.  Check their website out for all the great things they have going on there!

One last thing.  The Cliffs has the best app ever, raw scallops with wasabi, ginger and seaweed salad.  I thought it was going to rival the nasty raw scallops I had in NYC at the wine bar at Rockefeller Center.  This dish, totally naked, rocks!  I highly recommend it!  And it’s half price during happy hour!

Looking forward to some more stripped down meals!  Remember, less is more!



Dirty Laundry. Fashion Freaks.

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Friday Fashion Freaks is my blog about, well, fashion.  But also a place to air some dirty laundry.  I’ve owned a designer denim and clothing store for the past seven years so I know a bit about how clothes and good retail therapy can really make us feel.  Clothes definitely aren’t just about the way they look.  They are comforting, eccentric, electric, flashy, conservative, naughty, preppy, haute couture, vintage, borrowed and blue.

Speaking of blue, blue jeans, (a.k.a designer denim) are one of the best things that have ever happened to fashion (in my humble opinion.)  Jeans…oh… I could write an entire book about them.   I’m sure I have over fifty pairs in my closet.  They are slimming when you’re having a fat day, or sexy when you need just the right pair to go with the most amazing top. (On the other hand, they will gladly give you spillover/muffin top when wearing them to low and too tight.)  Jeans are baggy (boyfriend jeans–great for when you have PMS), high-waisted to rock a super-trendy style, low-waisted, straight leg, boot-leg, flare……Right now anything goes in the denim world.  A girl can’t have to many pairs in her closet.  Ever!

But we don’t wanna get stuck in a denim rut, (or in any rut for that matter!)  I try to limit myself on how many times I wear them a week so not to cramp my style.

Then there’s a jeans best friend, the sweater or top, because we can’t go around topless.  On a snowy day you can grab your favorite chunky sweater and a great pair of jeggings and curl up by the fire, feeling all snuggly and just perfectly perfect while reading a book.   Or pair them with an eccentric top and pumps for a night out.  And then there are accessories, the icing on your cake, whether subtle or over-the-top.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I don’t lie around in jeggings and sweaters all day.  I’m quite a socialite, and take undying pride in putting the perfect outfit together for a night out for a specific function.  I love to put on a dress anytime, casual or formal. At the end of the day, I’m a girly-girl.

But this blog isn’t just about denim and lace.  It’s about how we feel on the inside too.  We know you can wrap a package up and make it look all pretty, but when our box gets opened, we want to know the gift inside is just as beautiful.  I love the fact that clothes can help alter the outlook of your day.  Shopping therapy really does go a long way, but it runs out when your wallet is empty.  I think we need to try to become the most fabulous package we can because looks and fashion only go skin deep.  We need to love the skin we are in no matter what age, no matter what race, no matter where we came from.

Here we can spill the beans and encourage each other to be better every day and swap shopping tips and tricks.  I will give you the heads up on trends coming your way in fashion and try to give some good advice from my experience, from the best underwear to the best buy I see each week, I may even have it in my store!

Here’s to happy shopping, smart spending, and feeling glamorous all day long.

P.S.  Why can’t men ever put their toothbrush back?  It travels the same distance as mine?




Weight Loss Wars…How to Win

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Most of us struggle with our weight.  Whether it be 5 pounds for fifty, the majority of Americans need to shred some fat.  I’m sure many have made the same annual New Years Resolution of losing the weight that they put on the previous year.  Typically, that is mine as well, but not this year.  Why?  Because I knew I would fail at it.  We left our East Coast home on December 29th, to have an extended stay in Laguna Beach for six weeks.  Admittedly, this has its weight loss perks and it’s weight loss challenges.

Here the weather has been amazing, giving no excuses to go out and run at any given time of the day, as long as I have a sitter or husband here to watch the kids since I’m home schooling them while on my staycation.  Which is enough to drive any sane person into eating an entire tub of Karmel Sutra Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

Let’s not forget about the forty restaurants in a five block range from our house, almost all highly Zagat rated with food to die for!  So yes, my extra five pounds from last year is still where it was, on my ass!   Of which somewhat feels like a pillow-pet.  I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, I knew the wining and dining thing was part of the deal out here, we are in the magazine and promoting business and it’s part of why we came.  I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I’ve warded off any more extra poundage with kicking my workouts into a much harder gear.  Trying new routines are great for keeping your metabolism guessing and getting you out of your same workout rut and therefore burning more calories.

So far I’ve attempted a Bikram Yoga class (100 plus room temp and burns 500-1000 calories a class), a Brazilian Booty class by a Brazilian dance goddess, Spin and running.  I’ve balanced some negative calorie days (eating perfect) with positive calorie days (too much wine and raw fish.)  So I’ve been pretty even.  But, if you wanna lose weight, the first thing you have to know is how to count calories and on average how many you are burning by just existing.  This way you can be negative in your caloric intake to shed those pounds.

This is a great way to calculate how many calories you should eat to hit your weight loss goals in the time you want to hit them:

I have a few rules on getting you off on the right foot!

1) Figure out what your main vices are and get rid of them now!!!  A.k.a. the things in your cabinet that you can’t stay away from when you are mindlessly eating!  Mine is peanut butter and chocolate.  I purged my house of them yesterday so not to sabotage myself.

2) Eat whole foods!!!  If it comes in a box or a can, DON’T eat it!

3) Do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach–still have your coffee but only use Stevia as a sweetener, NO SUGAR in it, and opt for a splash of 40 calorie a cup Almond Milk.  The caffeine will wake you up and help to burn extra calories during your workout.  When you workout on an empty stomach like this it allows you to burn almost twice what the calories burned say on your piece of cardio equipment because you have been in starvation mode since your last meal, which should be dinner from the night before. (And hopefully eaten by 8:30 pm)

4)  Keep a food journal.  Write down EVERYTHING YOU EAT! Just buy a small one that fits in your pocket or purse, anything larger and you will forget it exists!  Or use an app on your phone to track it!

Aim for -500 calories a day to lose one pound a week!  One pound of true fat is a lot of fat, and that’s what you want to burn, not muscle.  Muscle is hard-earned and precious and if you aren’t eating a diet high in clean protein and low carb then your body will go for your muscle first when in starvation mode!  Eat lean protein 5 to six times a day, 15-25 grams a sitting!!! (Chicken, egg whites, light fish, lean turkey and beef, soy if your vegetarian).

If anyone needs help with this, take a pic of your food journal after a few days and I’ll evaluate it for you!

Good luck!

P.S. Be honest with yourself, write EVERYTHING down that you eat!!




I hate when I go somewhere for an extended period of time and forget to bring my favorites things. (Although this is really my first “extended stay” for more than 7 days anywhere.)  But seriously.  I brought 5 pairs of underwear for a six-week stay.  Only one pair of boot cut jeans vs. 4 pairs of jeggings, and absolutely not one “beachy” thing for daytime trips to the sand.  It’s kind of laughable considering I’m a seasoned fashionista.  Oh what to do?  Davey says, “Just go buy what you need,” and wouldn’t that be so lovely.  Maybe he’s not aware of my price point shopping level, lol.  That wouldn’t really work.  I’d be eating rice and beans the rest of the trip.

I even left all my makeup except for what fits in my clear Sephora bag that I always keep in my purse.  How much time and planning went into my packing?  Obviously not much, considering it was done the morning of our departure.  My four-year-old complains of the same thing.


“Mom, I need a sundress!”  Knowing I didn’t bring any, because I was unaware of exactly how Californians dress in their “winter” time, I hold up a short sleeve dress and say, “Wear this one.”  She rolls her eyes, sure of herself that it isn’t a sundress.

“Mom!  It needs to have skinny straps to be a sundress!”  Born with an incredible sense of style, I know she knows she’s right.

“We will find you one, but for now pick something that you have here with us, please.”

“Ugh, fine.”  She throws on her hot pink petticoat skirt and leopard print tank, and her black Uggs.

“You’re wearing Uggs to the beach?” I ask.

“Sure am.”  She tosses her locks over her shoulder and marches out the door.



Homeschooling in the OC


The OC hasn’t been too bad, not bad at all.  We’ve had seventy to eighty degree weather every day since we’ve been out here.  Our journey has been filled with trips to the beach,  tastings at the chocolate boutique, and a new restaurant every day—sometimes twice a day.  Sounds much like a vacation doesn’t it?  The sound of the waves, the taste of the chocolate, the buzz of the wine…that is until today.

Today I, Mrs. Coombs, put my teaching hat on and began home schooling my 9-year-old son for the first time ever.  When I switch hats, I really switch hats.  Did I bite off more than I could chew going from a full-time entrapranuer to a stay-at-home-mom/teacher for the next six weeks?  Maybe so.  Today I was put to the test, or rather my son tested my patience every step of the way today.  Declaring I had made him do four hours of math, when in reality it was 40 minutes, growling every time I would pull out a new assignment, then finally telling me to “shut up” when I told him to sit down and read his story on Houdini.

I don’t know if they give old school whippins at his school back home in WV, but this school will sure as heck give them out.   And I’ve been giving out squat thrusts every time my son needs it.  (Remember those from gym class?)

To add to the chaos of the first day of “cool school”  which is anything but, my beautiful distraction of a four-year-old doesn’t help matters when I’m trying to keep my son focused.  “Mommy I need you.  Come play dolls with me.”  Or “Let’s work on my Highlights sticker book,” which of course Vance would rather be doing.

Those cute little boutiques (that we pass on our mile walk for gym class) that keep calling my name will just have to wait until I get a little more organized.    Image

There was a moment today where there was a complete and utter breakdown of both children simultaneously, yet I somehow managed to laugh and just remain calm.  I thought, “Wow, I’m a saint for even trying this.”  But then I had to remind myself that I am no saint, it was a trade off for all of us to live at the beach for six weeks.  We all have to do our part to make it work….and this is what I signed up for, and by God I will find a way to be better at it with each passing day.   So here goes…


A New Year, A New Gear

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As I workout on the elliptical switching back and forth on my iPad apps I suddenly realize what I should be doing is reflecting on 2011 and what I need to take away from it.  It was a year in which I learned many life lessons, some of which came the hard way.  It’s hard to admit our failures yet easy to forget them.  Some brilliant man once said the most successful people are the ones with the most failures, which makes a lot of sense to me because you can’t keep a good man down.

So what if in 2012 we were all more conscious of our past decisions and outcomes as we make new choices, embark on new ventures and maybe most important, how we treat and view ourselves?

My 2012 vision is to simplify my life in order to be richer in life, and I’m not talking about the Benjamins. To take more breathing time, more reflection time, and more grounding time.  Because at the end of the day our real riches in life come from memories, sharing our lives with others, and inner peace.  All of which is hard to find on a busy highway.

I have learned we can not do it all and sometimes have to search very hard to really figure out what we are capable of, while keeping our sanity.  Keep what means the most to you and let everything else go….  Wow, that sounds wonderful, yet easier typed than done.  I know myself so well and I’m always go, go, go.  It’s not going to be easy to shift from fifth gear into second, but the time is now for that and thank God I’ve got my husband to pull the E-brake if needed.

So here’s to a new year, to clearer visions and to learning how to fly fish.  (Just kidding, I’m not sure I’ll ever slow down enough for that!)

Never stop learning, never stop living, never stop loving.

Forever a Pisces,