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PostHeaderIcon Resolve to Get Fit with Gumsaba Boot Camp


That looming…RESOLUTION.

Each new year, millions of us commit to some form of healthier living, whether it be an exercise program, weight loss or eating fewer sweets.

Sound familiar?

All good intentions aside, let’s be realistic. Do we really know what we want, and what exactly we are willing to sacrifice to keep our New Year's resolutions?

Many of us lose the battle of ditching our old habits year after year.

Why on earth would we think we might simply undo years of bad habits with one simple promise?

Gumsaba is here to help. We have womens, mens, co-ed and teen boot camps for a variety of fitness levels. You won't have to go it alone. We can help you reach your goals.

The first thing you must realize is that understanding the goal is the key to accomplishing it. If the goal is too big it may overshadow you.  The good intention of “running every day before dawn” might just become something we curse while hitting the snooze button each morning. If the goal is too broad, it’s all too easy to rationalize our “cheating” behavior. So where is the happy medium? What is the formula for success?

 Let’s get SMARTER.

Increase your success by paying attention to details of your life-changing commitment.

Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound, Educated and Recorded. Spend some time on it, you only get one life, and so many years to live it.  

Start your journal and write your name, the date and your SMART goal on the first page. Then, write a short term goal each month as you go. A great first short-term goal is to commit to tracking your progress daily in your journal! Make sure you reward yourself when you achieve each of your goals. Get a massage, a pedicure, whatever it is, do something nice for yourself.

Get started on your goals by working back from what you want. What do you want to have accomplished on 1/1/2014? Why do you want to accomplish your goal? The reason has to be more powerful than any excuse you have along the way.

Here is an example of a SMART GOAL:
“I want to lose 1-2 pounds every month this year, and I am going to reward myself with a massage each month if I accomplish it. To make it happen, I will commit to 200-300 minutes of light to moderate exercise per week. I am willing to sacrifice 1 hour of TV 4-6 days per week for my exercise program!”

Now, it's time to declare your goal. Studies show that when we put it out there we are more likely to stick to it. State your goals to those you need support from, tell your family, friends and co-workers. Post it on Facebook. Tweet it out. Write it on your hand if you have to.

Any goals you set can and will be amended as you go, but stick to the SMARTER RULE stated above. Good luck and don't fear failure, just take your goal one day at a time and adjust accordingly.

At Gumsaba Boot Camp we help each other achieve our lifestyle goals with the support of a like-minded, healthy community. Gumsaba was voted best Boot Camp in the East Bay by Diablo Magazine readers in 2012; we welcome you to try a free week. Gumsaba offers womens, mens, co-ed and teen boot camps for a variety of fitness levels. We can help you find the joy in your health and fitness so it becomes a part of your life, for life.

Classes are outdoors, rain or shine (with cover), and held every day but Sunday in Danville, Alamo/Walnut Creek and Moraga. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website http://www.gumsaba.com to sign up for your free week! Use promo code NOBLUES for your free week.-- MB



PostHeaderIcon Why this Author Went Indie

They say writing a book is a solitary experience. Yet, throughout the long, slow process of writing my first novel, Keeper of the Scale, I never felt alone. I certainly wouldn’t have reached “the end” if it weren’t for all the encouragement I received along the way. It really does take a village.

"Keeper of the Scale" is a work of women’s contemporary fiction which revolves around three dynamic women (diet buddies) who unite to form a unique dieting support group, but end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than how to shed some pounds.

Writing the book gave me the opportunity to reflect about society’s obsession with body image, the importance of female friendships, and what it means to have a “buddy.” Personally, I was fortunate to have the support of my dedicated writing group, test readers, and early praise from publishing insiders, including veteran literary editor Chuck Adams and respected literary agent Joanna Pulcini.

Had it not been for such a great support team, I would have likely given up after my own agent was unable to find a home for the book, despite his best efforts. Though editors said they enjoyed reading the novel, they also reported that publishing was going through a major transition—much like the music industry did years before—resulting in new authors having little chance of breaking into the already crowded market of women’s contemporary fiction.

So, like so many authors nowadays, I went Indie and self-published my novel as an E-book on Amazon, which has allowed me to connect with readers directly. I’m so grateful for the growing opportunities today for writers to be able to get their books and messages into the hands of readers as self-published authors.

My hope is that "Keeper of the Scale" will continue to allow me to connect with readers from around the globe, as well as help generate meaningful discussion among women about the roles both body image and friendships play in our lives.  Because, as the book affirms, there is nothing like the age-old power of women uniting, bonding and helping one another. --DC


Debbie Cohen is an Oakland-based writer. This is her first story for Allnewsnoblues.com.


PostHeaderIcon Spider On the Step: A Moving Tale

A "Spider on the Step" was inspired by stories Gina Gotsill’s father told her about the pet tarantula he had growing up in South America.

"Peludo" or “hairy” in English, was her father's sidekick and accompanied him on many adventures.

Through the stories, Gotsill, an East Bay writer, grew up to love spiders, particularly tarantulas, and see them as gentle and harmless.

About  four years ago, Gotsill wrote a book about a young girl who finds a mysterious spider in a box on her front step with a note written in Spanish that she must translate. In the process, the girl discovers a new language and the truth about her new pet. She and her husband, designer Chris Gotsill, decided to create an ebook about the tale.

But the duo needed illustrations to accompany the story. Over last summer, the couple reached out to friends and family of children under 12. The response was enthusiastic and soon the Gotsills were delivering crayons, markers and paper to all the would-be artists, ages 6 to 11.

“I'm not an artist, but I remember how much I loved receiving brand new art supplies when I was a child. I think every kid is an artist -- I am always delighted by what children come up with when given an opportunity to be creative,’’ said Gotsill, who is also the author of   "Surviving the Baby Boomer Exodus: Capturing Knowledge for Gen X and Y Employees” with Ken Ball.

In addition, each child was paid for the drawings. “I really wanted all the kids to know I valued their time and effort and I thought one way to express that would be to give them brand new supplies,'' she said.

What came back to the couple were drawings from five children. Gina also did two illustrations herself. “I just couldn't resist. I guess I'm still a kid, too,’’ she said.

The book was published on Kindle and is available online. And you may have not heard the last from “Peloo,” as the spider is called.  “I've thought about doing more stories about Peloo,’’ she said. “Peloo Goes to Washington... Peloo Goes Home (to South America). One theme is emerging: Peloo is a little rambler.”  --KJB


PostHeaderIcon Adopt An Angel Grants Wishes

There are more than 6,000 children in Alameda County who will not receive visits from Santa this year, according to Georgia Butterfield, chairwoman of the Adopt An Angel organization. More than half of those children are under 10 years old and many live in shelters, group homes, foster homes or with relatives in low-income homes. Sadly, there is, quite simply, no extra money for "frills," such as Barbie dolls or Matchbox cars on Dec. 25.

To make matter worse, these youngsters go to school, watch television and play with other children, seeing first-hand the toys, games and dolls Santa won't bring to them on Christmas morning. For 25 years, Adopt An Angel has worked to change that one gift at a time.

Adopt An Angel is a non-profit group of volunteers who are working this month to make the dreams and wishes of at least 650  youngsters come true.

Children subit their three wishes along with their age.

Their wishes are often simple: underwear, shoes, blankets, backpacks, school supplies and pajamas. The gifts go to those who are under the auspices of Alameda County Protective Services and an organization called Terra Firma Diversion Educational Services, a Hayward agency that helps foster children and other people in need.

It has become one of the largest charity drives in Alameda County. Though out the year, Adopt An Angel also collects clothes, stuffed animals, backpacks and school supplies for children and teens that need them.

Want to help?

Here's how:

1. Adopt a child's name and shop for his/her gifts
2. Help wrap the thousands of gifts ( done at a warehouse in
Union City the first part of December)
3 Donate wrapping paper, 2-inch clear tape,
batteries, or gift boxes
4. Make a tax-deductible monetary donation
5. Tell your friends and family about Adopt And Angel  
For more info., call Georgia Butterfield at 510-673-3938


PostHeaderIcon Nearly Two-ton Pumpkin Wins at Half Moon Bay

Superstar grower Thad Starr, a 45-year old stay-at-home dad from Pleasant Hill, OR, cemented his growing legend by setting a new California State record with his 1,775-pound Atlantic Giant that dominated Monday's 39th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on a picture-perfect morning in Half Moon Bay.

This was Starr’s third win at Half Moon Bay. “Among growers, Half Moon Bay is looked at as the Super Bowl of weigh-offs,” said Starr. “Honestly, the bragging rights probably mean more than the prize money. Plus, Half Moon Bay's Green Jacket’s pretty cool,” said Starr with his wife and two children by his side following the win.

He obliterated the formidable field of 50 heavyweight growers to take home $10,650 ($6 per pound), Half Moon Bay’s coveted “Grand Champion Green Jacket” and a “starring role” in this weekend’s Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival where his gargantuan gourd will be on display along with the top five overall from the weigh-off.

Starr’s grand champion mega-gourd will be displayed at the world-famous Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, this weekend (Oct. 13-14 –– Saturday and Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street in Half Moon Bay, California.

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin festival began in 1971 with an all volunteer non profit group determined to raise funds to improve Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay. 

For information on the festival, call 650-726-9652 or visit www.miramarevents.com--- KB



PostHeaderIcon All In Need Helps Youngsters With Special Needs


Every few weeks we feature a person or an organization with an interesting story on 10 Questions With… This week, we sat down with Autumn Green and learned about her organization, All in Need, Family Support. Her is what she told us:

ANNB: Tell us a little about yourself.
AG: I am the founder of All in Need, Family Support. I hold a degree in Business Administration from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, where I also worked as an administrative assistant until moving to the East Bay six years ago.  Being a wife and mother is my top priority.  Austin, my oldest son, was recently diagnosed with psoriasis and ADHD, and my youngest son Yaakov has been diagnosed with a speech delay, pediatric bipolar disorder and Asperger, and sensory process.  Austin is involved in hip hop and break dancing, participates in his church Youth Group. He also has participated in the Walk for Psoriasis. Yaakov is a left defender in club soccer.  I am a member of the Community Advisory Committee on Special Education in the Mount Diablo Unified School District, a volunteer for KidCompass, a special needs program at Oak Park Christian Center, and work part time as a classroom aide in the Mt. Diablo school district.   .
ANNB: How did you come start All in Need?
AG: In 2006, Yaakov was diagnosed with pediatric bipolar and aspergers, and my husband Jacob and I decided it was best for me to stay home with the boys. 
I tried to find the support and treatment Yaakov needed, but I was met with dead-ends at every turn. Frustration and hopelessness set in, but I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t getting the support I needed. There were other families in the Bay Area who also needed help. So I set out to help them, starting All in Need, Family Support, or AIN for short, as church ministry at Oak Park Christian Center, serving children 4 years old to 5th grade. But it was quickly obvious that we needed to extend services past the 5th grade.  The program was expanded, became a nonprofit and has to date served children aged two and a half through 7th grade.

ANNB: Where does the name of your organization come from?
AG: All in Need, Family Support’s name came from my own realization that my entire family, me included needed help to deal with  Yaakov’s special needs including supporting him in many areas of his life to help him develop. I incorporated everything I learned in his speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and tutoring in our daily lives. However, it quickly became clear that my oldest son and my husband also needed me. That is where the inspiration for the name “All in Need” came from. The idea is to support entire families of children with special needs. 
What is the goal of your organization?
AG: The goal of AiN is to provide support to families with children ages 18 and under that have special needs like ADHD, Autism, Bipolar, Physical, Mitochondrial Disease, speech and language, in the East Bay by offering respite care in a nurturing and learning environment, promoting social interaction, providing gross and fine motor activities, all in a sensory-based atmosphere. We try to help anyone with special needs under 18. We have two programs that allow us to support our mission: Respite and Social Groups. The goal for respite group,  such as the one to the left, is to give parents a three hour break, while caring for their special needs child in an environment that promotes education and skill development. When developing the program I tried create a place where I would be comfortable bringing my own son with the knowledge that he was being challenged and encouraged, not just placed in front of the TV or computer. Our social groups, are designed for children 8 to 16. These events are an hour and a half long, giving parents a short break. We have various activities scheduled for outings--meals out, movies, miniature golfing, and other age-appropriate activities that typically-developing children would be doing.  

ANNB: How many people do you serve each year?
AG: It is an unfortunate fact that since AiN became a nonprofit organization in 2011, we have not been able to serve as many families as we did when we were a church ministry. As a ministry we were able to offer the respite for free, but now that we have to raise our own funds independently, we have to charge a fee for most events to cover our costs of operation and pay for the events. We have three events a month—outings, respite and game night. Our goal is to serve 20 children per month at respite, and ten for each monthly social event and we continue to grow. Remember: We offer outings the first Saturday of the month, respite the third Saturday of the month, and game night the third Thursday of the month. Registration information for all events can be found at www.allinneed.org.

ANNB: How do people find out about your organization?
AG: For more information, visit AiN’s webpage at www.allinneed.org. To be part of the mailing list, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and let them know that you want to be on the family events mailing list. You can also request to be added to the newsletter email list. All in Need is on Facebook and Twitter (@allinneedfamily). You can also contact me directly at 925-257-4AIN.
ANNB: What do you need to make your organization stronger?
AG: We need volunteers and donations (both product and financial) to make the organization stronger. Without expansion in both of these areas, AiN will not be able to grow to support more families that have children with special needs. We also need locations for our social groups, and help from businesses who will partner with us to give children with special needs the opportunity to do the same activities that typically-developing children participate in. Any individuals or businesses interested in donating or partnering with us can contact me directly at 925-257-4AIN.
ANNB: Who are some of your partners?
- Goals for Autism
GOALS for Autism, Inc. is devoted to increasing the quality of life for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs. As a company we understand the daily stress and worry placed on a family with a special needs child. We are dedicated to providing quality comprehensive educational, behavioral, community and social skills. Our goal is to assist the entire family and to create an environment where everyone thrives to meet their potential.

- Kristen Cumings
Known for her works of art made completely from Jelly Belly jelly beans, Martinez artist Kristen Cumings enjoys sharing the arts with children. Kristen has worked in the special needs field for many years, and is excited to partner with AiN and incorporate both talents to serve the special needs community.
- Brittany Erin Creative Media
Brittany Erin Creative Media is a web design, photography, and videography company in the Bay Area. Brittany enjoys using her skills to help local companies and non-profits grow their business and get noticed. Check out her website if you are in need of any design or photo work!
Current facilities we use:
Oak Park Christian Center: www.opccag.org
St. Andrew’s  http://www.standrews-pcusa.org/

 ANNB: What do parents say is the best part of being involved with AiN?

 “AiN provided my daughter with the opportunity to interact with other children while engaging in full of fun activities. The staff members are very carrying and thoughtful people who ensure that the kids are having fun in a safe environment. At the same time, it allowed my husband & I to spend time together without worries by knowing that our daughter is getting the social interaction that she needs in a safe and caring setting. “

“Thanks for everything you do for all the kids, and us parents!”
An activity called spiderweb (above) is done at social groups.

ANNB: Tell us what you are working on now for the future.
AG:  In the future, we plan to offer more respite and social groups per month as well as eventually offering a leadership program. Leadership would allow children with special needs to support AiN events and programs in areas such as fund raising and publicity. The children who participate in the leadership program would be encouraged to become even more invested in the group and its success by helping organize and plan the events and activities.
In 2013 we will host an event called A Special Day in the Park, where families with special needs children will have access to local participating vendors who offer services for them. There will be occupational therapists, doctors, speech and language specialists, extracurricular activities, support groups and more. --KB

All photos were taken by Brittany Erin Photoraphy  http://brittanyerinphotography.com/blog/living-social-coupon/ 
For pictures that tell stories you won't soon forget for rejuvenation of body and mind

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