Monday, June 19, 2017

Beachbody

Jack LaLanne



It's that time again. The official start to summer is just day's away, time to get buff for the beach. Time to break out the Bikini, skinny jeans, tank tops and all the fun clothes made for people with the body of a Greek god or goddess. For some this is what comes to mind when they hear the word "beachbody".

I would like to put a different idea into people's noggins. Yes "beachbody" is a word often associated with the things I mentioned above. However, it is also a company that helps people literally transform their lives for the better. (No this is not a paid review). I just know that this time of year can be stressful with unrealistic images bombarding people on a daily basis. It puts unnecessary pressure on people to be fitter, and it can be confusing to sort through all the information and programs available out there. Many people have injuries that have made physical activity difficult if not impossible sometimes. So, I would like to offer a little insight into my experience as a beachbody customer since 2002.  

It all started with Slim in 6 with Debbie Seibers, a program put out by Beachbody. I've always been active and loved exercise. At the time I had been working out with Tae Bo by Billy Blanks for about a year and I wanted to try something new. So I ordered it and loved it. Then I discovered Tony Horton and the original P90, oh what fun that was.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that people who exercise and eat right look so young. Tony Horton at the time was about forty-four and he looked no where near it. I was thinking wow if this guy looks so young and healthy this program is definitely something I want to try. To this day he still looks nowhere at all near his age, and like one of my other fitness heroes Jack LaLanne, he has continued to defy the norm, giving a new face to what the human body can and should be at a particular age.

Anyway without going off into a novel of my fitness journey over the last fifteen years, the point is that there are always options. Since that time, Beachbody has produced countless programs for nearly all fitness levels. Almost every program has modification options, which makes "excuses" for not putting your health first obsolete.   

I have many fitness heroes, some not even affiliated with Beachbody. I love Jillian Michaels, Jackie Warner, and I also really like the Firm fitness programs. Not every body is the same and even the same body will not always need or like or even be capable of doing the same program forever. Which is why it is important to always stay in the game no matter what is going on with your body. It's not about getting a ripped hard physique (although I'm guessing everyone would like that). It's about being the best possible you that you can be. To get and stay healthy and strong so you can enjoy life to the fullest. 

Injuries happen to the best of us. Slips, falls, work, overuse injuries, accidents, you name it. For me it was two close dated car accidents. People with herniated disks simply should not jump, period. So that takes things like running and plyometrics training off the table. Does that mean you can't exercise? No, it simply means you modify your workout. So for example; if you're doing a workout program like say 21-Day Fix (which is not an extreme program by any means) but there are jumping jacks, etc., what do you do? You modify the jacks, by doing step jacks instead. Almost every program will have a modifier doing the workout so you can see exactly what options are available if you are not able to jump or do the advanced version of a particular move.

There are so many options, walking, yoga, pilates, one workout program I particularly love, love, love, (did I say love) is Piyo created by Chalene Johnson. Piyo combines yoga, and pilates, and gets your heart rate up like crazy. It sculpts, and stretches your body and you feel like a million bucks after a workout. The best part is no jumps, no weights, so it is fantastic when traveling. Which by the way, is a major excuse people use for skipping workouts.

The thing is you can make excuses or you can make results. The choice is up to you. There are super short workouts, even as short as twenty minutes. Everyone has twenty minutes. Endorphins really are God's medicine. Exercise is good for your mood, and really should be something you do every single day, just like brushing your teeth.

So what are you waiting for? Get to that phone, computer, or iPad, and find out what you      like and get started on that beachbody ;o) or shall I say healthy body. One that will carry you into your golden years if you treat it right. Remember the saying... use it or lose it. Happy working out!   

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

Monday, May 22, 2017

Amazing Grace

It's almost that time again... Memorial Day. You know the official start to summer. Parties, parades, BBQ's, get together's with family, friends and lets not forget the best part, the sales everywhere. 
It's possible if you're a millennial or a person who lives in a safe space you might think that is actually what the holiday is all about. However, I'm guessing if you read this blog you know better. ;o) It is unfortunate that the real meaning of the holiday is often the last thing on the minds of some people these days. Thankfully, there are people who not only remember, but who also choose to step out and give folks a big fat reminder. Enter, musician Dave Bray. 
Here's an excerpt from his bio, which is a perfect description of what he is doing to impact pop culture for the positive:
"Dave Bray is a dedicated husband, father, and musician. He grew up in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, where he currently lives with his wife and 2 boys.      
Dave proudly served in the U.S. Navy as an 8404 FMF Corpsman for the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines, (STA PLT), stationed out of Camp Lejeune, NC.
Dave has entertained people all over the world and has dedicated his musical career to supporting U.S. Veterans, Active Duty Military and First Responders.
Dave looks at his music as a continuation of his service. His love of God and Country are evident in his original songs and patriotic renditions."
Anyone who has been following me for any amount of time by now knows my feelings about the upside down world we're living in today. How my goal as an artist is to offer an alternative to the gobbledygook of moral rot served up by many of those in entertainment infecting the noggins of people across the globe. So it's very refreshing for me to see that there are other's who share my passion to create art about what's really important and do it in such a beautiful and powerful way.

Check out his gorgeous rendition of Amazing Grace, so incredibly inspiring. Then share it with friends, family and especially those who serve and who have served. 

I love our service men and women not only because I'm married to an air Force Veteran and my mom works as an NSO for the Purple Heart, but because it is the right thing to do. Men and women sacrifice time with family, and a good majority of their lives to keep us free. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice. We as American's not just on Memorial Day but every day should show honor, and respect to those who have paid that ultimate sacrifice. As well as simple thank you to those who serve, it is the least we can do.
Happy listening, and happy Memorial Day!
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com


Monday, February 27, 2017

HGTV Anonymous

Silence is Golden… I was shocked at first, I couldn’t believe that for the first time the entire award show season that there was going to be an award show without any nasty jokes made about Trump. That was until about three and a-half minutes into it when they started, and sadly it never ended.
To be honest, I did not watch the entire show. I did however flip back and fourth several times to see what was going on. Hey, I'm an actor and being that the Oscars used to be the equivalent of what the Superbowl is to football… it is only natural to want to see what films and performances take the top honors. (BTW Hacksaw Ridge was robbed!)
I say, “used to be” because over the past several years Hollywood or shall I say Hollyweird seems to have forgotten that they are supposed to be in the business of entertainment and not politics. 
It's just not as fun as it used to be to keep up with it all. Honestly the only things we watch in our house are HGTV, Animal Planet, and sometimes Fox News. Most of the time I have Classical or CCM Music on the Music Choice channel going on the TV in the background. Why? Because Classical Music makes you smart, and in my opinion it is just more fun to watch than a bunch of junk set to program my noggin with boatloads of gobbledygook.
This my friends is how it all started… My decision to tune out the junk, and tune into other things. I’m seriously starting to wonder if I need to check myself into “HGTV Anonymous”. You see I wanted a new bedroom suit. I had fallen in love with a set at Restoration Hardware called the St. James collection in antique white. The catch, I didn’t particularly care for the almost six thousand dollar price tag it came with. Ov vey!
So I did what any thrifty person in this situation would do. You guessed it, I hit Craigslist. After a few weeks I found a set just a few miles away from our house. It was perfect! Solid wood, unlike most of the furniture on the market today, which is, manufactured wood and pressed board. I made an appointment to see it, got the Mr. and boom we were off. It was just as perfect in person as in the ad. So we made arrangements to pick it up the following day.
Then, it was off to the Home Depot for Chalk Paint. What is chalk paint you might wonder? It is a fantastic way to make furniture look antique. It can be used to do so many crafts and it looks amazing! There are lots of colors to choose from as well. The best part you don’t have to strip the previous finish. Just paint right over it, then do the topcoat.
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It took about three weeks to get two coats on everything, and then let it dry and do the top coat matte clear. I found amazing knobs on lowes.com and viola’ our new bedroom set was complete.
However, after getting it into the bedroom and set up was when I started to notice every little knick and scratch on every bit of paint it seems in the entire house. Could it have something to do with watching too much, Flip or Flop, Love it or List it, or House Hunters? Probably…
I then told the Mr. we needed to finally finish painting the ceiling that we never finished a few years ago. Then it was the hallway, it was too dark and too tan, that we needed to brighten it up. Then it was the entryway by the front door. Now it has moved onto the woodwork. Yes all the white woodwork in the entire main level of the house “needs” to be painted.
So after several trips to Home Depot, Lowes (and to Dunkins for fuel to do the job) we have the house upside down and covered under plastic. Blue tape everywhere and I’m thinking that I might think twice before I tune into HGTV again… because after all this is how it all starts (no wonder I’m behind on getting my new music out).
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Add to the chaos the fact that not only are my own four dogs and one cat in the house while this is going on, we are currently pet sitting my moms two dogs as well. This makes for a whole barrel of monkeys or shall I say fur babies who want to see what their fur and paws look like with paint on them.
Here are some signs you might be watching too much HGTV:
- The employees at Home Depot know you by name.
- The employees at Lowes know you by name.
- The employees at both stores know what projects you are working on.
- The employees at both stores ask to see photos of the finished projects. 
If this sounds familiar, it may be a good idea to reduce ones HGTV viewing. Oh who am I kidding? I’ll never stop watching and why should I? There’s nothing wrong with Spring-cleaning any time of the year. Hey it’s a surefire way to keep oneself from ending up like another TV show that no one in the world ever wants to find themselves on… hoarders. ;o) Happy HGTV-ing!
Blessings, Love & Music!
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Here We Go Again

vince-vaughn-mel-gibson-650x488
Thank God for the inside voice...

It’s awards season again, the first of the bunch kicked off last night. I’m happy to say I didn’t watch. Instead the Mr. and I chose to watch the new version of Ben Hur. Which despite reviews from the critics, we loved. I’m not surprised though, since the producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are out as Christians (a group critics seem to love to marginalize and criticize).
I made a decision long ago to simply “unplug” from the things in entertainment that go against my morals, values and beliefs. All too often instead of celebrating good art (which unfortunately these days is so few and far between), it winds up turning into a half-baked political pontification session.
Well apparently last night was no exception. The Hollywood mucktey mucks did not disappoint this year, and their brave leader was none other than Meryl Streep. After the movie was over, I picked up my phone and there it was, all over social media and the news. So of course I had to go find a clip and see for myself what all of the hullabaloo was about. My inside voice was going “watchu talkin bout willis” while I almost spilled what was left of my dunkins decaf all over my lap.
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Now I’m not going to pick it apart because I do believe we are all entitled to our own opinions. To think for ourselves, to be what we want and to not let others do our thinking for us. I will say this though… her entire argument and character assassination of Donald Trump was based on a total lie.
I wonder though... where pray tell were all of the Hollywood "defenders of the disabled" last week when a disabled boy was held hostage and tortured for up to forty eight hours on Facebook live by four african american teenagers while they screamed obscenities? What was that? Crickets... that's what I thought.

Lies, misrepresentations, things taken totally and utterly out of context, are exactly what almost the entire news media or her precious “profession of journalism” did throughout the entire election season. All in a planned correlated effort not to get to the truth (that she said in her speech she is worried about protecting), but to hide the truth from the American public. In order to elect or shall I say coronate their hero none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
To their shock and horror it did not work. The American people chose instead to unplug just as I have from the media propaganda. Donald Trump brilliantly decided to go around the media and take his message straight to the American people. Thank God it worked because I honestly do not believe America could have survived a Hillary presidency. It would have been the nail in the coffin for our country after eight years of the Obama nightmare.
Am I being hypocritical for lambasting Meryl for having an opinion when I clearly have my own? Noway hosay. Meryl is entitled to have all the opinions she wants. The problem is when she goes on national television and broadcasts that opinion on a show that is not about politics; that further perpetuates a story that is based on a total lie. Sorry, but that is just plain ignorant in my opinion.
Hollywood is so mortified by the thought of a Donald Trump presidency that they have taken to making these pathetic PSA videos being shared all over social media. The funniest thing about them is these actors are all going on and on about the Constitution and our founding fathers, when 99.9% of them would not know the constitution if it bit them in the butts. Really can you imagine some of them passing a simple quiz about our nations actual founding history?
When uninformed people with a worldwide platform insist on pontificating publicly and perpetuating lies it is dangerous. Have an opinion, yes be involved, disagree even, but for the love of God please, please, please get your information from somewhere other than the mainstream media (and if I have to explain what the mainstream media is then I rest my case).
These Hollywood celebrities whine that the “majority” of the American people voted for Hillary, blah blah blah… they are having temper tantrums because they say the American people did not get who they voted for.
Newsflash to all the Hollyweird crybabies: the American people got exactly who we voted for. We the American people (you know the people in flyover country, the Christians, the silent majority) got exactly what our founders so brilliantly and uniquely created. They set up a system to prevent mob rule and tyranny. Since the Electoral College didn’t go their way now they want to abolish it. Had Hillary won though, they would all be praising the brilliance of it all, hypocrites.  
So please stop whining, stop making PSA’s. Trump is President. Get over it, just like we all had to for the last eight years. Go back to making movies, art and hopefully one day you will wake up to your stupidity. If not, you’ll most assuredly find yourself four years from now, and God willing eight years from now in an America that is greater and stronger than ever before (no thanks to you).
Blessings, Love & Music,
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com