New Weekly Blogger

I’m excited to announce Melissa Petro Cates as a new, weekly blogger here!  Melissa and I have known each other for a long time and share a love for living a healthy, well balanced life.  She will be a great addition to the team.  Check out this interview with Melissa to learn more about her what she will be sharing with our readers!

Name: Melissa Cates

City: Reston, VA

Occupation: Stay-at-home momma of two boys under 2 and blogger/aspiring writer

Favorite yoga pose: Okay, so this is a tie depending on my mood… if I’m in the mood for a challenge and need to get in touch with my inner powerhouse: warrior II, all the way. If I need to settle into myself and my breath to find that place that is always calm and steady: pigeon pose.

Favorite place to grocery shop: Trader Joes… they take the branding out of the equation and provide nutritionally sound food for me to feed my family. Favorite item: the mediterranean hummus. My son eats it with a spoon! (I prefer it with carrots.)

In the kitchen, are you a recipe follower or do you figure it out as you go? My inspirations in the kitchen are my momma and my grandmother. When I ask either one for a recipe, they give it in terms of a “little bit of anise seed” and a “handful of dried mint.” They have taught me to trust my instincts and my palate, so I am totally comfortable on my own making up dishes as I go. I have created some new family favorites that way. (Look for my Fisherman’s Stew and Green Pizza recipes to come!) It challenges my Type A side when I make myself put down the measuring spoons.

Name one snack you always have on hand? Peanut butter and bananas! My son and I share.

Being a wife and mother of 2 sounds busy!  How do you unwind and practice self care? Exercise is essential to my sanity. I joined a gym that has a child care center and an awesome yoga program. Being able to take time to sweat on the elliptical machine, lift some free weights, or de-stress/sweat it out in a hot yoga class helps me to reset on a crazy day. Our days are hectic and my two year old can be a physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging, so practicing mindfulness helps me avoid getting too frazzled. I also try to keep a daily meditation practice- just 5-10 minutes when both boys are napping. And I like a glass of wine as much as the next girl!

What does “healthy” mean to you? For me, health means balance. Physical, mental, and emotional health are all equally vital to that balance. You can imagine your lifestyle as a pendulum. If it swings too far in either direction, problems can arise. Restricting some foods, avoiding others completely (unless for medical reasons), or guilting yourself into dietary submission is not a healthy way to live. If you want a cookie, have a cookie. If you want to feel really great from the inside out, have a green smoothie. If you want a lazy afternoon on the couch, by all means, veg out. As long as you are honest with yourself about how what you eat, drink, think, and do makes you feel, you can steer yourself in the right direction. (Hint: You won’t feel that great if you eat too many cookies or spend too many afternoons on the couch!)

What can we expect from your blog? I want to share my experiences as a mother and a woman trying to live and give her family a healthy, happy, balanced life. I promise to bring honesty, ideas, recipes, and humor each week. I want to be a voice of support and encouragement for women who share these goals. I once read a definition of friendship as that moment you realize: “I’m so glad I’m not the only who feels this way!” I hope we can have that moment over and over again!

If you were a food, what would you be? and why? Hmmm… Well, I’ve never had this question before, but it’s certainly something everyone should consider. If I were a food, I would be oatmeal. Sound weird? Let me explain. There’s an element of structure to oatmeal: you have to measure the oats and the water or milk. Once it’s made, though, you can really get creative and make it whatever you want. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, mashed banana, greek yogurt, blueberries, flax seeds, peanut butter and on and on. Oatmeal brings a lot to the table, but the combination of structure and flexibility is a good match for my personality. Phew… good question!

Stay tuned for Melissa's first post next week!

Much love,

Emilie & Melissa