All-Over-the-Place Labor Day Recap

For Labor Day, we went home to N.J. and it was WONDERFUL. I loved every minute of being home with my family — the little family I’ve created with Luis, and the one I was born into.

The three of us flew in from Michigan, my brother flew in from California with his girlfriend (whom we adore!), and my sister came in from NYC. My parents were thrilled to have “all their chickies in the nest” and, per usual, smitten by Maya and it was just an all-around awesome and relaxing time. We ate, we drank, we were merry.  I was sad to not be able to see any of my high school friends this trip but it was really all about family this time. Between full moon gazing (thanks to Dad’s new toy!) park playing, boat riding, lake splashing, Catchphrase winning, winery sipping, woods hiking … it was a blast through and through. Continue reading “All-Over-the-Place Labor Day Recap”


Making the Case for AM Workouts

A conversation with a dear friend on a walk last night reminded me of why I desperately miss my morning workouts … and why I need to find a way back to them.

You see, prior to getting Rocco, I never had a problem with morning workouts.

A lark by nature, I loved the idea of getting my workout out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of my day. It set the tone for my day and it energized me. It made me feel happy and whole, and any walks in the afternoon were just a bonus in terms of physical activity and a positive jolt to my mental well-being. When I worked out in the morning, I ate better and slept better.

But then things changed.

Once Rocco joined our family, he was like a baby — waking a few times at night in the beginning and he’d cry if he heard anyone up. So I stopped working out in the AM because I knew I’d be walking him later in the day and didn’t want to risk waking him up. Plus, I was tired all of a sudden. Bone tired, like never before.

Little did I know … Continue reading “Making the Case for AM Workouts”

On Anxiety

Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past two years knows that the annual visit from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law each summer is usually a giant source of anxiety for me.

Without going into the details out of respect to my husband, let me just say that while I love them both very much, it’s very challenging for me when they are here. They don’t come for a weekend — because they live in El Salvador, they come for 3-5 weeks (though we’ve put the kibosh on those long visits the past few years). There’s a language barrier — my Spanish isn’t very good anymore and is about as good as my mother-in-law’s English, which means a lot of communication gaffes and a lot of me tuning out the situation around me once I lose the train of the conversation (even with my husband translating, it’s hard to keep up). My mother-in-law is a lot older than my own parents, and far more traditional so culturally there are some major differences. And finally, my sister-in-law is sweet as can be, but 37 and severely mentally challenged, which just adds to the complexity of the situation for a variety of reasons. Continue reading “On Anxiety”

FOOD on the Brain!

Thursday I am heading home to N.J. for a family reunion that has been in the works for months.

My brother just returned to California after his year in Korea, and we’re all meeting up at home in N.J.

To say I seriously cannot wait is a huge understatement; we’ve not all been together since last April! I’m ridiculously close to my family and hate that we all live so far apart. I seriously don’t know where I’d be without them … Continue reading “FOOD on the Brain!”

In Honor of Passover …

On Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating our exodus from Egypt, we ask: Why is this night different than all other nights?

While I didn’t attend a seder and am spending the holiday solo (with my hubby in class and my family hundreds of miles away) I tried to make tonight feel special and different, even though I wasn’t celebrating in the traditional sense. Continue reading “In Honor of Passover …”

The Day Our House Burned Down: Jan. 9, 1988

Today’s post has nothing to do with body image, weight, fitness, or anything … I am just feeling nostalgic and wanted to put my family’s fire story into words. I don’t have a photo on hand to share from that day, and I didn’t want to use anyone else’s random photos … but sometimes a post doesn’t need it to resonate. I hope this is one of those.

Female intuition is a very powerful thing, and not something I take lightly.

A Saturday morning 22 years ago, while preparing to head out for the day on a family outing, I innocently asked my dad, “Daddy, what would happen if our house caught fire at night?”

He seemed a little surprised by my question (as it was completely out of the blue), but told me what we’d do — find each other, get out safely, and go to our neighbors’ house to call for help.

As planned, we ran some errands, and pretty much forgot about our conversation. But when we came home later that day … our lives were changed in an instant … and that “what if” conversation we had that morning haunts me to this day.

My dad opened the front door and (I’ll never forget this) screamed the one word that will forever echo in my mind: “FIRE”! Continue reading “The Day Our House Burned Down: Jan. 9, 1988”

Dads and Daughters: An Ode to My Dad

Word_Jong_017I feel blessed to have amazing relationships with both my parents.

My parents were junior high sweethearts who came of age in the late ’60s, early ’70s.

Like most couples, they’ve weathered a ton over the years (including our house burning down when I was 8, the deaths of their parents as well as my beloved uncle Howie, to name a few challenges they have faced together).

And in the process, they’ve produced three pretty cool kids — or so they tell us 😉 Though all of us have long fled the nest, we’re still extremely close thanks to frequent flyer miles, cell phones, e-mail, and Skype.

(I’m in Michigan now; my brother lives in L.A. – but now he is teaching English in South Korea for the next year – and my sister lives in Manhattan where she’s a social worker at a NY Hospital).

Word_Jong_011But in many ways, no matter my age (I’m almost 30) or even the fact that I’m married now, I’m still Daddy’s Little Girl. I’m the eldest of three, and I swear, sometimes I think he still thinks I’m five, wearing pig-tails!

When people hear “daddy’s little girl” often they assume “spoiled.”

But my dad has never been the kind of dad to spoil me with physical objects the way some girls’ dads might. I don’t have a special pair of Tiffany earrings he gave me for graduation, or a car he bought me like a lot of the girls I went to college with (I’m not talking about my friends, just lots of girls I knew at American).

Instead, he’s spoiled me with his unconditional love, admiration, and devotion … something I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. In that sense, I’m definitely a daddy’s girl.

My dad worked two jobs when we were small so my mom could stay home with us. I’m super-thankful for that. In spite of his crazy schedule (he was a printer), as a baby, we still always had our special time. He’d wake me when he got home at 3 in the morning from work so we could spend time together while my mom slept. He’d read to me, listen to me babble, and put me back to bed.


Even though he worked so very hard to provide for us, he still managed to make it to every choir concert, karate tournament, dance recital, or cheerleading competition … and he rarely missed our family dinners. (The importance of family dinners reigned supreme in our house, and I hope to instill the same with our kids.)

Anyway, in case you can’t tell, in honor of Father’s Day, this entry today is devoted to my dad. Pardon me while I take a walk down memory lane today. Continue reading “Dads and Daughters: An Ode to My Dad”