Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Are You the Best You Can Be?

by Suzanne Andrews

As I walk along the Florida beaches thinking about how lucky I am to be able to see my family all around me, I can’t help but appreciate the little things.

Being able to walk, to talk, to breathe and to laugh.

Yesterday, I treated a patient who had no legs from diabetes (2) complications. (60 % of people with diabetes lose a limb).  

Her name is Melinda and she is 56 years old - and what an incredible woman she is.

When I got near her room I could hear the familiar sound that is always associated with Melinda -laughter.

There she was - sitting on her bed surrounded by 2 church friends, who were so captivated by the amusing stories being shared by Melinda, they barely noticed me enter the room.

Melinda has this amazing ability to lift people up, put smiles on their faces and make them feel good about the world - even if she is facing tough times.

“Have you always been so uplifting?” I asked.  “No,” she responded.  “When I had two legs I was always miserable.  I never listened to the doctor when he told me to stop eating junk food.  And exercise? Forget about it! How I wish I had my legs to go for a walk now.” 

Which brings me back to the amazing attitude change from Belinda. We’re working on getting her arms and abdominal muscles strong enough so she can transfer into her power wheelchair independently.

It’s hard work and she is so cooperative with her therapy sessions. But the amazing thing is; before arriving at the rehab facility and despite all that she has to deal with, Melinda has created a life of happiness and giving for everyone she comes in contact with.

I left her after an hour of providing her with her exercise treatment, but as I went back to document her session for Medicare, I had tears in my eyes - not tears of sadness but tears of joy and thankfulness.

After all I have two legs and can walk.  I'm no longer focused on them being a size skinny, but instead, being a size healthy because that’s what we at Functional Fitness strive for.  The media has brainwashed too many women to feel like if they’re not a size tiny, their not attractive.  Hog wash, I say!  It’s is better to be a size healthy, than a size skinny! 

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What about you?  What are your health hopes and dreams?  To have enough energy to play with your grandkids?  To be able to have strong legs to go on a cruise or sightsee?  To have a strong core so you have better balance and not become one of the 11 million people who fall every year, or to have strong arms to be able to reach into cabinets without pain?

You can achieve all those things. Never give up your dreams and always strive to be the best you can possibly be!

Healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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Stop Craving Junk Food

by Suzanne Andrews

3 Fast Ways to Stop Craving Junk Food 

Would you like to fall in love with delicious healthy foods you never knew existed? Try eating for functional energy and see the pounds melt away!

Do you have a sweet tooth or crave chocolate? Maybe you love desserts, or maybe you prefer salty potato chips and fries.  In either case, when you overdo, you're stuffing your body with calories while depriving it of real nutrients.

The holidays are coming and while junk food is fine in moderation and on special occasions, what about those cravings that hit you at the most inconvenient times - or, worse, the cravings that just never seem to go away at all?

Improbable as it seems, they can be tamed. Here are three proven strategies for ending junk food cravings.

Tip 1: Control blood sugar spikes and crashes

Never skip meals; recent studies have shown that dieters are more likely to binge on junk food if they haven't eaten in several hours.

To really knock out cravings, combine a healthy fat with some protein and a fruit, like a tablespoon of peanut butter on apple slices. It will be more nutritious and more satisfying than the junk food your body is asking for.

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: TOTAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING WITH SUZANNE ANDREWS

Tip 2: Avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG

When we eat sweet-tasting foods, our bodies produce insulin which makes us store fat. (If you have to use sweetener, try Stevia type substitutes which is what I use).

These findings were reported in the British Medical Journal in 2004, along with the result of eating foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners: deprived of the real sugar it was anticipating, the body experiences stronger sugar cravings at the next meal.

MSG (mono sodium glutamate) a flavor-enhancer found in many prepared foods has also been linked to incessant food cravings, including the infamous 'Chinese restaurant syndrome': you eat the food, then feel hungry an hour later. (It should be noted that many Chinese restaurants now offer MSG-free foods.) Other foods, such as canned soups, contain MSG.

Eat natural foods you prepare yourself. (You can make a big batch and freeze it in portions on the weekend to save on prep time during the week). Don't consume too many diet sodas. Instead, hydrate with water infused fresh (or frozen) fruit.

Tip 3: Cheat (but only a little.)

If you find yourself fixated on a craving that won't go away, give yourself permission to indulge a little. But have a glass of water first to help fill you up before you down your treat. In the long-run, it's better to have that half-cup of ice cream (but make it low calorie ice cream and eat it slowly) than to keep denying yourself and obsessing over it.

Simply adjust your plan to include more exercise that day, or take away extra calories from another meal to compensate. If weight loss is your goal, do both.  With the urges in control, you will soon have all the functional energy needed to be at your best weight ever!  

P.S Want 2 More Fast Tips to Stop Cravings? Watch the 1 minute video!

 

Healthiest blessings,

 Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

By Collage Video | | Functional Fitness, Suzanne Andrews, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | Read more

Ever Feel Like You Don't 'Fit In'?

by Suzanne Andrews

If you've ever felt like you just don't fit, you're special! Growing up, I never fit in. Everyone was smoking in high school and I never did, so I stayed away from the "smoke pit" where people socialized. I was sipping mineral water at parties while others drank themselves into oblivion.

I don't swear either, unless I'm really mad! So I guess I was not one of the "cool" kids. I skipped 3 grades in high school, loved business, the arts and the only high I got was from exercise. I was different and bullied constantly because of it. Even beat up. The point I'm trying to make is don't worry if you are different, that just means you're NOT a sheeple. You're a people - a born leader!

Let others know it's OK to be different. Share this message with your friends, family and social media!

Order Total Strength & Conditioning Workout HERE!

Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner/L

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

By Collage Video | | Functional Fitness, Suzanne Andrews, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | Read more

Using Weights Speeds Weight Loss

by Suzanne Andrews


Why Using Weights in Your At Home Workouts Speeds Weight Loss

Don’t have tіmе to go to a gym or the mоnеу for a mеmbеrѕhір? Transform your рhуѕіԛuе with weight bearing workouts. In as little as 30 days, it’s possible to lose two dress sizes if you include weights in your at home workouts. Consistency and a sensible diet are key. 

By uѕіng just a simple set of dumbbells and ankle weights, you can strengthen all major muscle groups when following the instructions in the Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews Total Strength and Conditioning DVD. Weights also strengthen уоur stabilizing muscles which help with balance when walking or climbing. In fасt, you rесruіt mоrе muѕсlе fіbеrѕ while performing exercise with weights. Dumbbells also activate nerve activity which boosts your mind and muѕсlе соnnесtіоn for improved реrfоrmance of daily living activities.

Best Lower Bоdу Exеrсіѕеѕ for a Firm Butt and Legs

Dеаd lіftѕ, Squats and Lungеѕ wіth dumbbеllѕ аrе аll extremely effective in toning and firming weakened leg and buttocks muscles. Nоt оnlу аrе thеу mоrе comfortable to use than dеаd lіftѕ with a bar, ѕԛuаtѕ аnd lunges with hand weights offer lеѕѕ ѕріnаl compression and pressure on your lower bасk. Nice feature.

You саn реrfоrm саlf rаіѕеѕ by holding dumbbells іn either hand and raise up on the balls of your feet. Sԛuаtѕ аnd lunges target the quads but also work the calves, glutes аnd hamstrings.

Best Uрреr Body Exеrсіѕеѕ for Firm Arms

 

Dumbbells аrе аlѕо very effective in buіlding muѕсlе quickly іn the uрреr bоdу. Single аrm  rows tone and build the bасk muscles, (latissimus dorsi) and rеаr deltoids. They саn also bе uѕеd to build a firm chest аnd toned shoulders. (Think sleeveless dress!) Whіlе реrfоrmіng flat, decline оr іnсlіnе bеnсh presses you create an іnсrеаѕеd range оf mоtіоn thаt  targets the mid, lower and upper chest muscles. Alѕо dumbbells can bе uѕеd tо perform flyes on thе bеnсh аѕ an іѕоlаtіоn mоvеmеnt that really hіtѕ the ресtorals. Thay аrе grеаt fоr toning shoulder muѕсlеѕ as wеll. Sеаtеd shoulder overhead presses are very еffесtіvе, аѕ аrе ѕіdе and frоnt lаtеrаl raises. You can аlѕо do trарezius work by реrfоrmіng shrugs аnd upright rows.

And of course, уоu саn tone thе bісерѕ, triceps, аnd the forearm muѕсlеѕ which helps you carry just about anything with greater ease. Standing alternating bicep curls really help to bring оut the dеѕіrеd arm firmness. Ovеrhеаd triceps extensions are great for reducing that behind the arm flap. Dumbbell hammer curls work both the fоrеаrmѕ аnd biceps.

 

When beginning any workout routine start оut wіth light wеіghtѕ. Thіѕ is nееdеd tо allow аnd the additional stress оn уоur ѕtаbіlіzіng muѕсlеѕ to adjust safely. As you become stronger, slowly build up thе аmоunt of wеіght you lіft аnd over time watch your ability to do activities of daily living become easier.

As you саn ѕее, thеrе аrе many еxеrсіѕеѕ you саn реrfоrm tо buіld strength and endurance wіth dumbbеllѕ. A uѕеd set оf dumbbеllѕ аnd an exercise bеnсh wіll uѕuаllу соѕt under a hundred dollars. Alѕо, this set up doesn’t rеԛuіrе a lot of space. They can easily be рlасеd іn a corner оf a small room or the gаrаgе. Itѕ іmроrtаnt when lооkіng tо tone muscle уоu реrfоrm thе right аmоunt оf rерetitions, pacing and ѕеtѕ so you can lose weight the fаѕtеѕt. With that ѕаіd, be ѕurе tо gеt оut mу other Functional Fitness tips hеrе on mу frее Functional Fitness blog. If уоu wаnt tо work оut аt hоmе, or уоu dоn't have thе money tо аffоrd a gуm, іt'ѕ реrfесtlу fine tо uѕе dumbbеllѕ to lose weight аnd get thе rеѕultѕ at home.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Have Hypoglycemia?

by Suzanne Andrews

How Much Protein Do You Need for Weight Loss?

A Functional Fitness Fan shares her weight loss story…

Dear Suzanne

“Hypoglycemia has been my nemesis, but because of it, I have learned to manage things much better, and have lost 45 pounds!! There is no medicine for hypoglycemia...just old fashioned common sense eating and exercise!!  I was not able to even keep up with your tv episodes, but now I am finding I can do them, even if it is one of the modified versions.

Blessings to you, Cindy.”      

Suzanne’s response…

“Hi Cindy, by doing the modified version you proved that you don’t have to exercise hard to lose weight, just smart. 

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is something I’m very familiar with. Not only as a medical professional; I was diagnosed with it in my early twenties.  I lost over 60 pounds with hypoglycemia and a malfunctioning thyroid. Talk about a double whammy!  Hypoglycemia makes it especially hard to lose weight because you must eat to keep you blood sugar level. Hashimoto’s slows down your metabolism. A turtle has a faster metabolism than me.

Needless to say I had to be very strategic about losing weight safely. A severely restricted diet plan could make you go into a coma. 

So what do you do to lose weight?

Exercise 5 – 6 days a week and eat protein!  Grill it, bake it or use 0 calorie cooking spray to keep it lean.

Good Protein Sources are:

Eggs, fish, yogurt, low fat cheeses and lean cuts of beef.”

High intensity workouts are not recommended for people who have hypoglycemia. A moderate pace of exercises that includes low impact cardio and strength training are VERY effective. Be consistent and you can be two dress sizes smaller next month!

Check out this weeks Functional Fitness 60 second video to find out all the benefits of protein and how much you need to consume for weight loss.

Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner/L

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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7 Benefits of Walking with Arthritis

by Suzanne Andrews

A common myth I hear from my patients with arthritis is, “I can’t exercise because I have arthritis.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Motion is lotion for arthritis. When you move, you produce a lubricant (synovial fluid) that coats your joints and decreases joint pain.  When you use resistant bands or weights, you do double duty by providing your joints with stronger muscles to support your joints and that also helps decrease pain. Pills don’t do everything and with long term use, many medications will cause health problems. Walking is literally physical medicine for your joints. 

  1. Walking Strengthens Your Legs

Stronger legs help you do more than just look great in a dress. Stronger legs help ease knee pain because your quadriceps muscles (in the front of your legs) acts as a shock absorber for your knees. Stronger shock absorption equals less pain.

  1. Walking Saves You Money on Medical Bills

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average person with arthritis spends $2600.00 a year on medical bills related to arthritis. Walking helps to save you money with less trips to the doctor.

  1. Walking Helps Eliminate Arthritis Pain in Hips, Knees and Back

If you get up in the morning and you feel stiff until you move, you know that movement helps to ease joint pain. Starting your day with a walk is a great way to ease pain because it helps you lose weight. Losing just 5 lbs of fat is equal to 20 pounds of pressure on your joints.

  1. Walking Gives You a Non-Surgical Butt Lift!

Walking contracts the glute and hamstring muscles which helps to lift and firm your buttocks.This is important if you have arthritis because stronger glute muscles (your butt) helps to decrease back pain.

  1. Walking Gives You More Energy

It may seem counter-intuitive to walk if you’re tired, but walking gives you more energy. Joint pain is very tiring to the body and when you start to eliminate the pain with your daily walks, you’ll have more energy.

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  1. Walking Improves Your Libido

Let’s face it, it’s hard to feel sexy when your hips are creaking and your knees are aching. Walking releases those feel good hormones that work better (and safer) than pain pills. With the pain gone from your daily walks, you’ll feel sexier.

  1. Walking Keeps You Active

Walking keeps you doing all the things you want to do: whether it’s spending time with your grandchildren, children or going on a sightseeing trip. So get going and walk the talk! You’ll love feeling better with just a few short weeks of walking.

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

New Year's Motivation

by Suzanne Andrews

How many of us say we're going to wait till Monday or New Years, or after a certain time to start eating healthy and getting fit? Instead of waiting for that perfect date, start now because now is the perfect time for your best health! 

Healthiest blessings, Suzanne Andrews

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

 

 

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Benefits of Strength Training

by Suzanne Andrews

 

4 Unusual Benefits of Strength Training in Women Over 50

Strength training, an important addition for the health of midlife and older women, is often overlooked. While we are in our 20’s and thirties, we are concerned with getting into that little black dress.  As a clinician who works with women who are middle age and older, I understand that the desire to look good never goes away.  However, as women age, there are far more important reasons to strength train.

  1. One surprising aspect of strength training after 50 is how it affects your endocrine system. That's the system of organs in your body that produce and regulates hormones in your bloodstream.

Yet the myth of getting big, bulky muscles remains. Women don’t have enough testosterone to produce bulky muscles.  While Testosterone is produced in both sexes, (in the ovaries in women and the testes in men); women have about one tenth the amounts of men but it still affects your metabolism by burning fat during exercise along with increasing muscle strength and tone. Testosterone can remain in your bloodstream at elevated levels up to three hours after exercise. In women, strength training can also benefit the intensity of orgasms and that's never a bad thing.

Own Total Strengh & Conditioning Here!

  1. Strength training helps improve body image… Why? A hormone that helps to breakdown unwanted body fat is estrogen. It increases your metabolism (burns fat as fuel), increases both your libido and your mood. The ovaries produce less of it as menopause is reached but strength training can elevate its levels in the blood for up to four hours after exercising so you feel sexier and happier. Now that's better than a valium and has much better side effects than any anti-depressant. (I do not advocate women stop taking their anti-depressant as they need to check with their doctor).
  1. The greatest loss of bone mass is women going through menopause.  Strength training not only helps women maintain muscle – it helps to maintain bone mass and reduces risk for numerous chronic diseases. 

Osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans every year. One out of every two women will get osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is known as the silent killer because half of the population who have low bone mass are not aware of it. Osteoporosis puts people at a much higher risk for painful bone fractures that are sometimes fatal. Over 300,000 seniors a year fracture their hip from a fall with sometimes serious complications, including death, from hip fractures.

As we get older, the tissues that comprise the heart, lungs, arteries and veins weaken. Strength training slows that deterioration by keeping higher levels of blood, oxygen and hormones flowing.

After age 50, you lose 1 -2% of muscle strength per year.  After 60, you lose 3% a year, which comes out to about 4.5 pounds of muscle strength a year.

Your legs get weaker three years before your arms start becoming weak and that's why you'll notice it's becoming difficult to walk like you used to.

Your bicep muscles in your arms help you lift stuff and your triceps help you push up to a stand.

Not all the muscles that are important to move your arms are located in your arms: your latissimus dorsi (located in your back) pulls your shoulders back and your arms to your sides.) 

While strong legs are important, strong arms are also vital for a fully functional life.  With strong arms you can lift your baby/grand-baby out of a car seat with ease, carry in groceries, get items of the top shelf and get in and out of the tub without injuring yourself. 

  1. What many women are unaware of is that calcium is needed for heart conduction.  If a woman has thinning bones and doesn’t have enough calcium, the body will remove calcium from the bones to give it to the heart to avoid a heart attack. So in essence, strong bones helps to decrease thinning bones and could potentially help with heart disease.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Get a Firm Belly

by Suzanne Andrews

Get a Firm Belly Without One Floor Ab Crunch!

Are you tired of all those ab moves that insist on doing crunches on the floor?

You can firm and tone your belly with just weights and a chair.  If going to a gym is not for you, you can get excellent results with chair exercises or standing ab crunch without the fancy gym equipment. 

I’m writing this because the one thing I don’t like about floor ab workouts is that they hurt your neck, even when done with proper form.  And if you’re just beginning, you can get severe neck pain from floor ab crunches.  But if you’re sitting on a chair or standing, you’re in what we rehab therapists call a “gravity eliminated” position which also eliminates neck pain and helps to isolate the ab muscles making them firmer and toned.    

Because I am a clinician, I feel it is only ethical to tell you that you must also follow a well-rounded weight loss diet plan in order to see your toned belly. I’ve seen far too many fitness “gurus” tout the latest 6 pack abs by just doing an ab workout.  That simply isn’t scientifically correct because even if you have a six pack: if you eat too much, you will never see the six pack because it will be covered with a layer of adipose tissue (fat).

Here’s how to do an ab crunch without getting on the floor! (As seen in our newest DVD, Suzanne Andrews Functional Fitness Total Strength and Conditioning).

Standing or Seated Crunch

Grasp hand weights as tolerated - (how heavy depends on your fitness level).  Bring elbow to opposite knee as shown.  Repeat on other side. Do one set of 15 and work your way up to 3 sets of 15.

OSTEOPORISIS (Thinning Bones) PRECAUTIONS: 

The added benefit of doing an ab crunch while seated on a chair is that you don’t have to bend your back!  (Demonstration of osteoporosis safe crunch shown in the seated level).)

  

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

What Food Labels Really Mean

by Suzanne Andrews

What You Must Know Before You Go To the Grocery Store!


  1. FRUIT: If there are four numbers in the price look-up, this means that the produce was grown with pesticides.
  2. STICKER BEGINS WITH A 9: If a price look-up sticker begins with a 9, this means that the produce was grown organically.
  3. LOW FAT, LOW SUGAR, LOW CALORIE If an item is labeled "low" in a particular element, it means that you can eat several servings without exceeding the recommended daily limit. Low-fat products have fewer than 3 grams of fat per serving; low-saturated fat items have less than 1 gram per serving. Low-sodium means the food has 140 milligrams or less per serving; low-cholesterol means 20 mg. or less and fewer than 2 grams of saturated fat. Low-calorie products have fewer than 40 calories per serving.
  4. TRANS FAT: This is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and responsible for LDL cholesterol which is the “lousy cholesterol.” LDL causes heart attacks.  If the label says no trans-fat, there still can be ½ a gram of trans-fat and if you eat a lot of that food, the trans-fat can really add up.
  5. Natural: The food manufacturer decides how to label their food natural. If the food does not contain added coloring, artificial flavors and/or artificial ingredients they can decide to call it natural.
  6. ORGANIC: This means that no growth hormones, pesticides, DNA altering was done to produce this food. If the label says, “made with organic ingredients that means that at least 70% was made with organic ingredients. If it says 100% organic, that means that at least 95% was made with organic ingredients. 

            Source: Health US News

            Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here. </p

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