What’s For Dinner?

What’s For Dinner?

I’ve been back on the East Coast this past week visiting family and friends, which means lots of meals on top of two special family occasions. Come on… I’m Jewish and everyone knows we love to eat!

There is a part of me that says, “I keep a very healthy and clean diet in LA, so I can enjoy myself and indulge this week.” Thank goodness for the bigger voice in my head that says, “you know how to stay on track with your healthy clean eating even when you’re traveling and cooking. Stay focused, as you know what it feels like when you get off track. It is ok to indulge in a treat here and there…just don’t go overboard.”

Have you said above to yourself time and time again? I bet the answer is YES! I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be hard to live a healthy lifestyle no matter where you are or what you are doing.

The key to health and wellness is keeping it simple. It’s important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day and have balanced meals to ensure you’re getting needed carbohydrates, proteins and fat to maintain your energy level throughout the day.

I love to cook, but unfortunately my on-the-go lifestyle in LA leaves me very little time. Being home in Jersey this past week has given me the opportunity to really enjoy spending time with my mom in the kitchen. Trust me…this woman CAN cook! Holy moly WOW!

We prepared one of my favorite meals this week and Mama B makes the BEST: chicken, sautéed vegetables, and salad.

The chicken is marinated with a touch of BBQ sauce for a nice, tangy flavor. We threw asparagus, one of my favorite vegetables, in the sautéed mix and added snap peas, onions, zucchini, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. I’m known as the girl who loves to throw in a lot of fun stuff and have lots of fun putting things together in my salads however this salad was quite simple: romaine lettuce, cucumbers, carrots (of course), yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.
Cooking with my mom is always a highlight of my trip home. She has fancy tricks with spices and marinades, but loves learning some of my healthy secrets.

Do you have any fun cooking stories or tricks to share? I want to hear them! Please comment below. Remember – always bring it back to the basics – simple is key! No need to reinvent the wheel.



The Trials and Tribulations of Winter Travel

The Trials and Tribulations of Winter Travel

I just returned from a planned 12-day trip to the East Coast that morphed into a 15-day trip, thanks to the lovely Philadelphia weather and US Airways mess-ups. With this amount of vacation, I could have gone to Europe and back again, but then I would have missed seeing mom and dad.

We all get stuck sometimes:  in places, situations, jobs…. where we want to be or get someplace else at a certain time.  After my entertaining experience, which could have been a great reality show, a life lesson was definitely learned.  Being stuck in one airport for over 8 hours and then overnight at a different airport definitely made me think about where we are supposed to be – at least at any given moment.  

Sunday:  So here’s my story

My sister, brother-in-law, 3 ½ year old nephew and 3-month old nephew flew back to spend twelve fantastic days with my parents and to see old friends, family and visit our old stomping grounds. After a great visit, this past Sunday we were scheduled to take a 1:55PM flight out of Philly, scheduled to arrive in LA at 4:55PM; and then the blizzard came…OK, no problem, delays happen a lot during winter and we were rescheduled to arrive in LA at 9:00PM that same night.

6 hours later we were told of a second delay, so now we are looking at a 12-midnight arrival.  Two more hours go by and all flights are canceled and then the fun started; on their own, US Airways re-booked our flights and I am now scheduled for a Tuesday AM departure while my sister and her family were booked on a Monday flight with a connection through Phoenix.  Hello…do they not see that her reservation lists a child and lap child, let alone that we all had reservations together?  What are they thinking?  

Local officials said to stay off the roads unless there is an emergency, so now we’re stranded at the airport with children who have been there for 8 hours and are getting a bit tired and cranky.  Thank goodness for Uncle Larry, the hero who puts his safety at risk and came to rescue us; he saved the day and we ended up at my brother- in-law’s parent’s house.  

As soon as I could I got on the internet and saw my sister’s flight still had seats available, but only in First Class. My brother-in-law said, “Call…you never know.” 

Luckily, I got to speak with Dwayne in customer service, where I explained our drama and our desire to fly back together as soon as possible: “I really need to get back to Los Angeles on Monday and can’t wait until Tuesday.  My family is on a flight leaving tomorrow that connects in Phoenix and there are only first class seats available.  How giving do you feel this holiday season, Dwayne?” Yes, that is exactly what I said to Dwayne.  I was placed on hold for about 30 seconds and then Dwayne came back on the line to share, “Miss Baker, you are confirmed for Monday’s flight with your family in first class seating.”  I was shocked and so thrilled.  I thanked Dwayne and ask to speak with a Supervisor to sing his praises, as he deserved it.

Monday:  Our new day of departure

We get to the airport on time and were relieved that we will be sleeping in our own beds that evening; at least that was what we thought.  The weather at this point is much better and cooperating, but we leave Philadelphia 40 minutes late due to our flight crew being late. Our connection gives us 45 minutes to catch our flight in Phoenix, so of course we are praying to make up time in the air.  Side Note to anyone who flies: first class on US Airways was not all that – Virgin America coach is way better!  :)

While in the air, I’m catching up with my emails and what do I get…an email update from US Airways stating that I have been re-booked for a flight departing Phoenix on Tuesday AM.  WHAT?!  You’ve got to be kidding me?!  I decide to breathe and wait until I land to see what is going on now.  I am praying that it’s a mistake, but in my gut I know that it means we will be missing our connection. Well, the headwinds were insane so we never made up time.  We arrived 60 minutes late, which yes, made us miss our connection.  I freaked out at the US Airways guy who thought he was doing us a favor giving us hotel vouchers.

There were no more flights with US Airways that night so we started to think out of the box.   The Phoenix airport is huge, however that didn’t stop us for trying to make a Southwest flight.  We ran with kids, we used the moving escalators, which became my nephews new obsession and we got lucky to get a cart ride.  I kept thinking “what are my amazing nephews thinking?!”  Haha they were in heaven and having the best time! How great to be a little kid with a sense of adventure and nowhere to be! SWA was not an option, so our next thought was to rent a car and car seats to drive home.  We didn’t want to sleep in a hotel and spend one more night away from home.  Of course, after some smart thinking, we found ourselves shuttling to the Doubletree Hilton to indulge in their warm cookies.  At least that was a perk?! :) 

Tuesday:  Homeward Bound

I was able to get my morning workout in as I chased my nephew all over the airport; even he was ready to go home.  Boy, can that little guy run fast; get his cleats ready now. :)  Everything went smoothly and we took off on time.  The next thing I knew, we were finally home in LA!  Holy smokes it should never take that long to travel across country, and it made me even happier that I now live, work and love in LA and don’t have to deal with ‘weather.’

Oh, and to add to everything else, my bag was damaged in transit – but I did get a new suitcase courtesy of US Airways!

As much as we experienced major drama and it was very draining, I must say it gave me more quality time with my family.  That is priceless and was a blast! We now have a great story to share with my 3-month year old nephew when he gets bigger, as this was his first trip on a plane. Flying can only get better for him, right???

The life lesson here is that we should always remember that the unexpected can happen at any give time.  So dream and strive to the fullest, as you deserve whatever you desire.  I learned that being stuck is ok as that was what was meant to happen.  Life will still be there when I get unstuck.  When you are stuck – look around at what you see and you might be surprised of what happens and/or comes up for you!  Next; my letter to US Airways … :)

I am soooo thankful to be home in sunny SoCal!



Dance Getaway with Ilyse

Dance Getaway with Ilyse

From time to time, my students ask me, “Ilyse, have you ever thought about putting together a dance retreat where we can dance with you all day long?  Or, maybe even a dance cruise?”

Both of these ideas sound incredible and my students definitely have great ideas.  I mean what more could you ask for, but a weekend out of town with dance?!  Seems ideal to me, however it is not always that easy.

Dance retreats and cruises have been written in my business plan for years and at some point will happen for sure.  In the meantime, I have asked myself over and over again, “How can I plan and include my students in my dance travels?”  It has come to me…FINALLY!

Last August, I had the honor and privilege to meet one of “America’s most popular and respected dance instructors” Christy Lane.  Christy saw me present at IDEA World Fitness Convention which is the World’s Largest, Longest-Running International Fitness Convention.  She has 77 award winning videos/DVDs, CDs, CD-Roms, books and numerous magazine articles to her credit, her work has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Washington Post, American Fitness, USA Today and Shape Magazine as she continues to share the message of wellness through dance.  Christy approached me right after my session and said, “Ilyse, hi I am Christy Lane.  I am starting the Dare to Dance Convention and I must have you a part of it.”

Sooo….to make a long story short (too late) :) Christy and I got connected to plan my position with her new Convention.  It is very exciting and flattering to be a part of a brand new Convention alongside a team of instructors that are incredible.  Here are some to brag about:  America’s Best Dance Crew, Chris Thomas, Jabbawockeez, Eddie G, and the list goes on.

During The Dare to Dance Convention, I will be teaching four different dance classes from Jazz to Broadway to Lyrical and showcasing my new Dancinerate Burn With The Beat DVDS.  I invite YOU to join me in this Dance Getaway!  The Convention takes place in Palm Springs on May 3-5.  If you sign up now, you will save up to 30% off.  This Dance Convention is for all levels so do not be shy, come DANCE and show all your best moves!

This is exactly what we have been waiting for, a weekend away with dance.  Please click the link below for all of the Convention details:


Grab your dance buddies, dancing shoes, and let’s PARTY!!!!

Please comment below and let me know if you are joining me for a weekend getaway with DANCE!  ALL ARE WELCOME!  This is exactly what the dance doctor has ordered!  :)

See you on the Palm Springs Dance Floor!